Northeastern Section - 54th Annual Meeting - 2019

Paper No. 28-2
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


DALY, Julia, Dept. of Geology, University of Maine at Farmington, 173 High Street, Farmington, ME 04938 and ANDERSON, Walter A., Maine State Geologist, Emeritus, 7 Fayview Lane, North Yarmouth, ME 04097

Since its inception in 1994, the mission of the International Appalachian Trail has been to connect Appalachian terranes with a walking trail to encourage public understanding of the rich geological story preserved in mountains around the Atlantic Ocean. Beginning at the trailhead in Katahdin Woods & Water National Monument, hikers can now walk north into Canada and beyond, following the trail that is now designated in Maine, Canada, and several European countries. The trail links terranes associated with the formation of the Appalachian mountains, highlighting the geologic relationships and shared history of rocks found on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. For students, at first glance it may be challenging to think that rocks in Maine and Ireland share history. This serves as an introduction to plate tectonic theory, highlighting the cycle of collision and separation of the continents. By tracing the trail and learning more about some of the rocks it crosses, students (and the interested public) can begin to make the connections between the geology along the trail and the geologic evolution of the Atlantic basin. The idea of a hiking trail fosters closer observation of this landscape and outcrops, stimulating questions and inviting walkers to think on broad spatial and temporal scales. This geoheritage experience can engage dayhikers as well as those who have completed thousands of miles on the trail, and strengthen the idea of a shared geological heritage across borders.