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New book explores the geology of Illinois
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The history of Illinois is written in stone. And water. And soil.
For more than a century, the Illinois State Geological Survey, a unit in the newly named Prairie Research Institute, has studied the past hidden beneath the topsoil. Now that story is shared in "Geology of Illinois," a full-color, 530-page book exploring the integral link between the state’s geology and life on the surface.
"The book is a compendium of more than 100 years of research in the state and summarizes what is known about the subsurface of Illinois, making this information available in one place for the first time," said managing writer and editor Cheryl Nimz, who co-edited the book with Dennis Kolata, an emeritus geologist at the survey.
With more than 200 maps, illustrations and photos, the book guides the reader through the tectonics, geological history, mineral and groundwater resources, land use and environmental hazards of Illinois.
Over much of the state, the bedrock is buried beneath layers of glacier-deposited sediment, to which the area owes its rich farmland. The state’s prehistoric legacy is preserved in fossils from shark’s teeth (yes, sharks in Illinois) to mastodons.
The authors recount details of major geological events, such as soil becoming liquefied as a result of the New Madrid (Missouri) earthquakes of 1811-1812.
In addition to outlining history, the authors take stock of the state’s geological resources and look to the future for the land and inhabitants of Illinois.
The book was commissioned during the survey’s centennial celebration in 2005. Over the following five years, 43 contributors assembled 30 chapters. Printing of the volume was supported by private donation.
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