Boston: Where it All Started

I moved to Boston about a dozen years ago. My wife and I had been living in Moab so it was quite a shock to arrive in the Hub. Gone were the wonderful red rock canyons, wide open spaces, and 12,000 foot high mountain peaks. Instead, I found concrete canyons, urban density of almost 20,000 people per square mile (compared with less than 2 around Moab), and minimal topography. I was not happy until I discovered the mosaic of geology used to construct the city’s buildings: sandstone, granite, travertine, marble, puddingstone, and gneiss.

As I have now discovered, Boston, like most big cities, is built with a range of rocks equal to any assembled by plate tectonics. With a short walk you can find rocks ranging in age from 3.5 billion years old to less than 200,000 years old. There are rocks from every continent except Antarctica. Plus, builders often go to the effort of polishing the rocks, so it is even easier to see the wonderful structures, fossils, and minerals. There were many times I wish I had my rock hammer and a bottle of acid.

I bring this up because today in the Boston Globe there is an article of mine about the great rocks of Boston. Based on a timeline, the story highlights 13 buildings and their geologic and cultural stories. The editor and designer did a great job. I have only one regret, at this point it’s not on-line, or if it is I cannot find it, so if anyone out there sees it could you let me know how it looks.