Geology of the Eastern Coast, by Cynthia Light Brown and Kathleen Brown, is another fine addition to Nomad Press' Build It Yourself series. With clear language and helpful vocabulary lists, the authors take the reader on a tour of the geology of the Eastern United States, from the birth of the ancient super continent of Rodinia a billion years ago (I'd never heard of it!) to the ecosystems of the modern coastal areas.
It starts with a beautifully lucid explanation of plate tectonics, and then moves into the formation of the Appalachian mountains, touching on earthquakes, and fossil fuels. I'm glad they included the 2011 Virginia earthquake--and was fascinated to learn that tweets from Virginia about it reached New York forty seconds before the shock waves. It was also fascinating to learn why it is that earthquakes in the eastern states travel so much farther than those elsewhere--not as many interfering fault lines, and older, colder rocks that let the force of the earthquake keep going for hundreds of miles. For kids who were in the 2011 earthquake zone, this section will be especially interesting!
There are quite a few descriptions of specific places of geological interest, several of which I've put on my To Visit list (one reason why this book isn't going over to the library yet)---like Great Esker Park in Weymouth, MA, and the greenstone staircase of Stony Man Peak in VA. I already wanted to visit Mammoth Cave, KY, but was fascinated learn that one of the earliest explorers to map it was a young slave named Stephen Bishop in the 1830s.
The book includes the less rock-based topics--climate and ecology, both of which are the result of the region's geology. There's a nice discussion of rivers, too, including a nicely clear explanation of how hydroelectric energy works.
And then there are the fifteen activities. I was very impressed by these--more so than usual, and am very eager to do some myself (forget the kids). I want, for instance, to make a limestone cave with sugar cubes. Some of the food based ones I might make a few changes too (in the erosion activity, in which chunks of chocolate (hard rocks) fall when the whipped cream beneath (soft rocks) is eroded by the spoon, I'd rather eat ice cream than whipped cream, but that's a matter of personal taste!)
I was especially fascinated by this addition to the series, because I am an East Coaster born and bred--and even though I like to pass review copies on to the library, I am going to keep this one for awhile. It is really the best geology book for 8-10 year old kids I've read (I learned things too!), and the focus on one region gives it a more personal interest than books that cover the whole world. For those who aren't East Coasters, other books in the series cover the Pacific North West, the Great Plains and Mountain West, and the Desert Southwest.
Non-fiction Monday is hosted by 100 Scope Notes today!
disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher