Cover image for The restless Northwest : a geological story
The restless Northwest : a geological story
Williams, Hill, 1926-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Pullman, Wash., : Washington State University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
viii, 163 pages : illustrations, maps ; 21 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QE79 .W48 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Restless Northwest provides a brief, easy-to-follow overview of the geologic processes that shaped the Northwest.

One of the attractions of the Northwest is its varied terrain, from the volcanic Cascade Range to the flood-scoured scablands of eastern Washington and the eroded peaks of the northern Rockies. These vast differences are the result of a collision of the old and the new. The western edge of Idaho was once the edge of ancient North America; as eons passed, a jumble of islands, minicontinents, and sediment piled up against the old continental edge, gradually extending it west to the present coastline.

Figuring out how and when these various land forms came together to create the Northwest took much geological detective work. Unlike many geology books that focus on rocks, The Restless Northwest emphasizes the human drama of geology. The narrative is sprinkled with firsthand accounts of people involved in the exciting geological discoveries made in recent years.

Hill Williams uses an informal conversational style to explain complex processes to a general readership. He enlivens the story of long-ago geologic events with fascinating asides on everything from enormous undersea tube worms to the Willamette meteorite, the largest ever found in the United States. Interested readers will discover much about Pacific Northwest geology without getting bogged down in an overabundance of details and scientific terms.

Hill Williams is a former Seattle Times science writer.

¿A superb story constructed by a master of scientific writing for all to read. You don¿t need an earth science background to enjoy this story.¿--James Whipple, retired, U.S. Geological Survey

¿Hill Williams writes in a manner easily understood by the general public, not in the technical jargon of a professional geologist.¿--Dr. Gary D. Webster, WSU Department of Geology

Table of Contents

Pacific Northwest Geological Timelinep. ix
Part I. The Ancient Northwest: A Puzzle Assembled from Around the World
1. A Mirror Image Offshorep. 1
2. Beneath a Mile of Waterp. 15
3. A Continental Splitp. 21
4. Head Bone Connected to the Toe Bonep. 31
5. Wandering Minicontinentsp. 37
6. Land on the Move: Baja to British Columbiap. 49
Part II. The Modern Northwest: The Landscape as We Know It and How It Got That Way
7. Strike-Slip Faults and Leaky Fracturesp. 63
8. Separating East from Westp. 75
9. A Deluge of Lavap. 93
10. The Ice Age Arrivesp. 107
11. Glacial Lake Missoula Floodsp. 117
12. Not If, But Whenp. 135
Pacific Northwest Geological Almanacp. 151
Glossary of Geological Termsp. 155
Indexp. 159