I became interested in geology at an early age, at some point during 7th or 8th grade. Part of this leaning stemmed from my Dad’s occupation as an engineer and manager in the coal mining industry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From time to time Dad would take my brothers and me underground, and I happened to enjoy it. Furthermore, Mom and Dad extended to my brothers and me an astonishing freedom to explore on our own. For example, we were permitted, on our own, to go ‘caving’ in a large undeveloped cave near Uniontown, Pennsylvania, 50 miles southeast of our home. Each time we had to look hard for any one of three entrances, …a task made more difficult when there was snow on the ground. The cave is now a commercial enterprise called “Laurel Caverns.” I have not yet been back to experience it, but have come to learn that it is the largest cave in Pennsylvania! Beyond this type of adventure, and like many kids, I collected rocks and minerals and was at one point the proud recipient of a collection of beautiful (labeled) mineral specimens from a friend of my Dad’s, who was a professor at Ohio State University.
During college and graduate school, my specific geo-interests emerged as a passion for structural geology. Over the years of field work and mapping projects, I have done almost all of my ‘collecting’ with a camera, and only bring back (rarely) a rock that received “A+” marks in a number of categories: 1/ fits in the palm of my hand (in part, so I can easily bring real structures to class); 2/ displays beautifully one or more geologic structures; 3/ lacks unsightly blemishes (e.g., rock hammer blow or miscellaneous scars and scratches); 4/ contains geometry, texture, and hue that combine in strong aesthetic appeal; and 5/ reveals processes of formation of geologic structures.
I prefer rocks, such as these, to minerals, for rocks with structures contain stark geological history and thus invite the creation of step-by-step interpretations as well as stories that need to be told and preserved. If I count geo-specific summer jobs while in college, I have been ‘doing geology’ for about 40 years. I have averaged less than 2 ‘keepers” per year, and these follow, with the stories behind them.
I am indebted to the Center of Learning Technologies at The University of Arizona for initiating this project. Limell Lawson in particular pushed me to archive these collected geologic structures, and in such a way that the materials are accessible broadly, and with 360-degree viewing. Gary Mackender carried out impeccable photography of each rock, so that every surface can be brought to view and explored three dimensionally. Maritza Wright designed the site.
In the descriptions that follow, I report, among other things, ages of the rocks and structures. Please keep in mind that these are only rough ballpark estimates, intended to give a general sense of the timing of things.
As the site has come together, I have enjoyed 'jumping around' from structure to structure as I view, edit, and adjust the content, and I anticipate that those who visit this site will similarly follow their interest and curiosity as they 'pick and choose.' But please know as well that I have been deliberate in the sequencing of structures within each category of rocks and structures. For those who follow the 'line up' in the order given, you will find that the descriptions and interpretations 'build' on one another to some degree.