Mark & Laura Steltenpohl • Book Signing & Talk
Join us Tuesday, August 22 from 5:30-7 PM, as we welcome Mark & Laura Steltenpohl to Ernest & Hadley Booksellers, to discuss their new book: Roadside Geology of Alabama.
Alabama’s world-class geology, nearly as famous as its music, includes tracks of early amphibians and reptiles, fossilized bird feathers, and 2-billion-year-old mineral grains eroded from rocks now found in Africa. And lest you think Alabama is just alligator swamps and estuary mud, you can view Little River Canyon, in places 600 feet deep, atop Lookout Mountain, a broad plateau incised by waterfall-laced rivers at the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains.
The Roadside Geology of Alabama published by Mountain Press, Missoula, MT, tells the story of the ancient, sometimes violent forces that produced Alabama’s present-day landscape of rugged mountains, sheer river bluffs, rolling plains of fertile farmland, and beautiful beaches. The authors intertwine the geology with cultural stories, legends, and history to paint an enjoyable picture of how Alabama and its rocks came to be. For example, Tannehill Ironworks and iron mines in Red Mountain Park and Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve document Birmingham’s industrial birth as the source of iron for the Confederacy. Buildings at Cheaha State Park in the Talladega Mountains were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps using blocks of locally quarried Cheaha Quartzite. With this book as your guide, find caverns in fossil-rich limestone, shark teeth in the shifting sands of the Gulf Coast, and rocky outcrops in Muscle Shoals along the banks of the Tennessee River, known to Native Americans as the “singing river.”
Mark Steltenpohl is an emeritus professor at Auburn University with more than forty years of experience as a field geologist. His interests in Alabama geology began while earning his BS and MS degrees at the University of Alabama. After getting his doctorate from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, he worked as a field geologist for three years at the Geological Survey of Alabama. Then he was hired by Auburn University, where he was a professor for thirty-two years, the final eight-years serving as department chair. His field research in Alabama, arctic Scandinavia, Poland and East Greenland has focused on understanding the development of mountains through tectonic processes.
Laura Steltenpohl taught Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics twenty years at Auburn HighSchool. She earned her MA in secondary science from the University of Alabama after getting degrees in geology at Vanderbilt University (BS) and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (MS). Her research focused on understanding the origin of alkaline granites using geochemical analyses. Her non-educational work experience includes five years as a project scientist with an
environmental consulting firm.