I am sitting in the Imaging Center working on my thesis: for now that means reading through really dense papers about Appalachian orogenic belts. Joy of joys.

Okay, it isn’t that bad, but I’d rather be outside on this beautiful day.

Anyway, here I am shedding tears and drops of sweat over 50 page papers on Silurian suture keys when I come across this gem: “It marks where the Ordovician Tetagouche-Exploits ensimatic back-arc basin (TEB), which opened within the leading peri-Gondwanan Gander terrain, finally closed.” Besides the mouthful of ancient geologic events and geographic places there is only one word that stumped me. Ensimatic. Solution? Google.

Double take. Fourth hit.  “Rhymes with ensimatic…” What?! Of course that is why I am looking up this really arcane, unused word, Google. Of course. Unable to move any further without clicking on this gem of a link I succumbed to taking a little break.

And let me tell you, it was enlightening.  There are 76, yes!, seventy-six, words that rhyme with ensimatic according to rhymebrain.com. Which is, well, amazing, because I would so much rather be writing poetry about rocks than an annotated bibliography.

Laurentia is just chilling in the west,
Not knowing, a back-arc basin is doing its best:
To move on over and collide is its quest.
Its movement is swift because its ensimatic,
When it hits, it will be problematic,
Because this back-arc basin is pretty erratic.


And now, Google has proved far more of a distraction than what would be considered a normal work break. Back to the annotated bibliography I go…


P.S. After looking up “simatic” I was able to deduce that ensimatic means that the back-arc basin is perched on the lowest layer of the Earth’s crust, which is rich in both silica and magnesium and usually contains a high about of basaltic magma. Hopefully that is what it means because if I have to look up more words I might begin writing an ode.



Recently, the state geologist for Maine, Bob Marvinney, came and visited our compound. We gave him a grand tour of the peninsula and showed him around the rocks. There will be more to come on this excellent visit and some of the rocks we saw, but to keep yourself busy have a look at the Maine Geological Survey’s website.

It is a great resource for us and for geology fanatics across the globe. The most important publication on the website for us is the 1:100,000 Bath Quadrangle and map published in 2002 by Hussey and Berry. it is in the maps and publications page.

A Propah Lobstah Dinnah at Shortridge Coastal Center







Working Inside

We have spent a lot of time out of doors over the last couple weeks but as we cover more and more area we are starting to spend some more time on the computer. The evenings of last week and today’s rainy Monday were good opportunities to get some serious debate in over polygons and map details.

Soon, once we have some more detailed polygons, I’ll post the work in progress. For now, here are some images of us in debate and working together on drawing some lines… We project the map on the wall so all four of us can work together.

Mapping with the input of four different people can be incredibly challenging.

Here is Heather at the control center and we call this person the “driver” because using ArcGIS is like driving an 18-wheeler. Or so I think.

Peter added his thoughts from the eastern side of the peninsula.

That’s all for now from Shortridge! More to come soon!

Getting the Goods

The spring semester is over at Bates and all of the people involved in our study have embarked on their Short Term excursions. Dyk is in the Southwest for the next month teaching a short term course of 14 students traveling from the rim of the Canyon to the top of the cinder cones. Heather and Jen are both working at the study site during short term doing a lot of preliminary research and mapping. While Jen and Heather slave away at Small Point, Peter and Haley are both rowing their way through Short Term. This weekend is actually the ECAC Championships.

Once Short Term is over and everyone has had a little break in June, the fun begins! With our project fully funded by the EDMAP Grant, beginning June 22nd we’ll be able to spend eight full weeks in the field. Getting full funding on the grant also means that our new equipment should be arriving soon. We already have the newest member of the family – the Juno:

We have already started testing it out in the field and doing some preliminary research.

This picture was taken at the end of our last day in the field of the semester. Professor John Creasy has deemed us "Dyk's Angels."

For now, that’s all the news from Small Point. More to come soon!

First Steps

It has been almost exactly one month since the proposal for this project was submitted to the USGS. The proposal will be reviewed by the committee later this month just prior to Christmas and announcements about accepted proposals should be made in January.

The proposed mapping area is Small Point, Maine – the southernmost point of the Phippsburg Peninsula. Maine’s coastline is almost exclusively defined by metamorphic rock and Small Point is no exception. The goal of the study to determine exactly how this area fits into the huge geologic picture of Maine. To find out more about the geology of coastal Maine, I highly recommend visiting the Maine Geological Survey. They have slideshows with excellent descriptions of Maine’s Bedrock. If you are looking for a more detailed history try checking out the Simplified Bedrock Map of Maine, or this summary of Maine’s Bedrock History.

The people working on the project are:

Professor Dykstra Eusden

Jennifer Lindelof (Bates College, Class of ’12)

Heather Doolittle (Bates College, Class of ’12)

Haley Sive (Bates College, Class of ’12)

So, the biggest question you are asking is, “Why Small Point?”

The reason: Small Point is one of the only areas in the state of Maine to have new LiDAR imaging.

This is a JPEG of the LiDAR image for Small Point. (A real LiDAR image has so much information filed into every megapixel, it would be nearly impossible to post on this website!)Notice all the fine lines in the image signifying potential fractures in bedrock.

LiDAR is an extremely accurate and high resolution digital elevation model. It allows us to see beneath trees and biota to the very surface of bedrock. Incredible! For geologists this is particularly exciting because it means we can see parts of the story of our Earth we have never seen before. To find out more, watch this video produced by Sarah Robinson and Andrew Whitesides.

Stay tuned for more information about Small Point Geology, the status of the grant proposal and the personnel working on the project!