BOOK: Geology Underfoot in Western Washington

A photo from Geology Underfoot in Western Washington. Stephen Slaughter contemplates a cross-section of a Mima Mound south of Olympia. Have geologists figured out the origin of these strange features yet?

Cover art by Eric Knight


My book, Geology Underfoot in Western Washington, published by Mountain Press Publishing (Missoula),  is available in bookstores (though you may need to ask them to order a copy for you), or order it directly from the publisher. It is part of the Geology Underfoot book series. The book features 22 field trips to exciting geologic sites in the western part of the state.  The book is written for a popular audience, though it should be useful and enjoyable for geologists and earth science educators, too. Each chapter takes you to a particular site, and gets you out of your car and face-to-face with the rocks and landscape. Here is a sample chapter that visits folded and overturned sedimentary layers at Beach 4 on the Olympic Peninsula. The book includes a  ‘Geology 101’ – style introduction to basic concepts, as well as an extensive glossary. It has many color photographs and original explanatory drawings.

An original sketch from Geology Underfoot in Western Washington. Copyright Dave Tucker

An original sketch from Geology Underfoot in Western Washington. Copyright Dave Tucker

Some of the sites described in the book include:

  • Willapa Bay stumps submerged by the January 26, 1700 Cascadia Earthquake (M 9), and the workings of subduction.
  • Golden Horn granite at Washington Pass and Blue Lake. This chapter discusses the mechanisms for emplacement of large volumes of magma in the crust.
  • A tour of some significant glacial erratics in the Puget Lowland.
  • An urban geology tour of downtown Seattle, and the fascinating rocks from all over the world found on buildings.
  • The still-unresolved riddle of the Mima Mounds
  • The Kulshan caldera near Mount Baker
  • Pleistocene glacial and interglacial deposits on Whidbey Island

Mountain Press Publishers of Missoula also publish the well-known Roadside Geology series. Other volumes in the Geology Underfoot series can be found at the Mountain Press website.

The cover art is by Eric Knight of Los Angeles. It shows a future eruption of Mount Rainier, based on past eruptions, in particular the Electron lahar that filled west-side valleys 500 years ago.

Geology Underfoot cover art by Eric Knight in poster format.

Geology Underfoot cover art by Eric Knight in poster format.

14 Responses

  1. How exciting! I can’t wait to buy a copy to use with my after school geology club.

  2. I’m curious as to how your book is coming along? Has it been published yet? if so where can I get a copy. If not when is it coming out? I would like to get a copy when it does.

    • Ann,
      Thanks for your interest. The book has gone to the editor and should be available in the fall of 2014. As soon as it comes out, fear not, there will be a BIG announcement, and a release party in Bellingham if not elsewhere.

  3. Can’t wait ’til it comes out! Will the Kulshan Caldera section include info from the Ptarmigan Ridge field trips you did in September, and to the same extent as what you shared on the trail? I was very bummed that I could not make either of the dates for that trip and would love to have that info for the next time I hike Ptarmigan. (Would also love it if you offered that field trip again next year!)

    • Cathy,
      I appreciate your enthusiasm for the eventual publication of GUWW. A confluence of events [snowy weather and my injured ankle] forced cancellation of the Ptarmigan Ridge trips last month.
      I do plan to offer the Ptarmigan Ridge geology hike again next year. Stay tuned to NCI for that. I may also offer it via Mount Baker Volcano Research Center as a fund raiser for the research grant fund.
      I do not describe the hike in Geology Underfoot. I just ran out of room in the book, being strictly limited by the publisher to only so many words and pages. The Kulshan caldera vignette in GUWW goes to Artist Point and Heather Meadows, and it also talks about columnar andesite and the origin of the odd landform of Table Mountain. I am working on a different book, a road and trail geo guide to Mount Baker, that will have a detailed trip guide to Ptarmigan, as well as many many other trails on or near the volcano. I’m well into it, but once GUWW comes back from the editor, will have to [again] shift away from the Baker guide and back to GUWW. Just hope I can keep track of what’s what!

  4. Anxious for your book. Can you do a book signing in Glacier? Grahams restaurant or Chair 9? Love all the history about the Glacier area. Thank you for all the work.

  5. Thank you for the fascinating presentation! I’ve been browsing the book and it’s worth buying. I’m already thinking about giving a couple as gifts. You’re a true rock star!

  6. Dave,
    Great book. Any chance of getting a digital copy? I fly for a living, but would prefer to not subject the hard copy to the punishment in the cockpit.
    LJ Conrad

  7. Thanks for your interest in an ebook for Geology Underfoot in Western Washington. A digital version is in the works. It should be available by the first of the year.

    James Lainsbury

  8. Yesterday, I received 34 copies of Geology Underfoot for my 8th Grade Geotechnical Sciences Class in Seattle Public Schools. It would be great if Mr. Tucker could come to our classroom in the Spring to speak about his experiences writing excellent field guide.

  9. […] BOOK: Geology Underfoot in Western Washington […]

  10. Before I post here, are these comments screened first? I want to ask a question but not offend anyone. Thanks.

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