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Andrew Alden

Geoheritage at GSA

By October 30, 2013

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This morning was my last bit of the GSA annual meeting in Denver, and the session I attended was about a subject dear to my heart, the preservation of geologically interesting places. As geologists we care about all kinds of odd things that most people either don't notice or use without knowing anything geological about it. But there are "hooks" in almost every such place that connect it to the community around it, and here a wonderful talk by Edward Stermer presented a great example: the "rediscovery" and preservation of Peoria's Rocky Glen.

When Stermer came to Peoria to teach, he kept hearing about Rocky Glen, a place where everyone used to go. He was interested because old-timers mentioned high cliffs of rock, which would make the place the city's best bedrock. But somehow, it had gotten lost when the city established Rocky Glen Park. (Stermer learned that the city had purchased the wrong piece of property.) When he tracked down the right location, which was privately owned, he learned that it had a rich human history as a coal mine and mine union organizing site. Long story short, he helped start the Friends of Rocky Glen, bringing the community together as a unified force to secure the property, which the city purchased last year. I wish you all could have heard the talk, but the website gives a lot of the flavor.

So the morning's message from me is, "Geoheritage Plays in Peoria."

Is it bad luck to take rocks?


November 4, 2013 at 11:23 am
(1) Tom Loomis says:

What a good story. I have often considered the possibility of creating a geological preserve in some of the areas in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Hills are so diverse and rich in geological history and in many places the outcrops and landforms can unlock the secrets of the past. But, I not sure where to start the process. any help in this area would be greatly appreciated.

Tom Loomis

November 6, 2013 at 7:33 am
(2) Ed Stermer says:

Andrew –

Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad that you enjoyed my presentation. Geosite preservation is a passion of mine too. Do you know of any formal or informal directory of Geohertitage sites in the U.S.? I think something like this could benefit those working to preserve sites across the country.


November 6, 2013 at 7:53 am
(3) Ed Stermer says:

My suggestion is to get the community aware of the sites ASAP. If possible, conduct trips to the sites to increase public awareness. Seek out a few people that share your interest and create an organization to promote/preserve the sites. Once the community is on board, it is easier to work with the local government and private landowners to create some sort of preserve. Remember that the general public is fascinated by geology and many are looking for an opportunity to get out and learn more about the earth.

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