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Free Speaker Series: Yellowstone country geology

UMW News Bureau

The release of “Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country,” a full-color book co-authored by University of Montana Western Professor of Geology Rob Thomas and Georgia State University Professor Emeritus of Geology William J. Fritz, will be highlighted in an event sponsored by the Montana Western School of Outreach on Monday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Swysgood Technology Center Great Room on the UMW campus By Sharon Christensen RGYC cover workingThe release of “Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country,” a full-color book co-authored by University of Montana Western Professor of Geology Rob Thomas and Georgia State University Professor Emeritus of Geology William J. Fritz, will be highlighted in an event sponsored by the Montana Western School of Outreach on Monday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Swysgood Technology Center Great Room on the UMW campus. Thomas will discuss and also sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase at the event through Debbie Sporich and The Bookstore. The co-authors’ collaborations teaching field geology in Yellowstone country span a quarter of a century. “I am very proud to be involved as an author,” Thomas states. “It’s a neat thing to look back to when you were a graduate student working for someone who is now asking you to co-author a book.” Fritz, currently the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the College of Staten Island, the City University of New York (CUNY), is also a professor of geology at CUNY, a member of the earth and environmental sciences doctoral faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center and emeritus professor of geology at Georgia State University. While professor of geology at Georgia State University, Fritz spent many years as the geology field camp director in Dillon and Yellowstone. Thomas worked as a teaching assistant for Fritz in 1986 while earning his master’s degree from the University of Montana. Fritz wrote the first edition of “Roadside Geology in Yellowstone Country” in 1985. Three years ago he asked Thomas to update the book. Incorporating the original template and feedback by readers of the first edition, Thomas wrote several introductory chapters and also added new road guides and revamped old ones. He included fresh graphics and all color photos to replace the black and white design of the first edition. The thoroughly revised second edition uses the latest scientific thinking put in layman’s terms and includes clear diagrams and maps featuring vibrant photographs of sites where it is safe for the roadside explorer to stop and study geology. “With more than 10,00 geysers, hot springs, fumaroles and mud pots as well as cubic mile upon cubic mile of once incendiary rhyolite, the landscape of Yellowstone Country vividly displays its fiery past and present,” Thomas relays. “The 19 road guides in ‘Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country’ fully explore the volcanic pedigree that defines Yellowstone country while also delivering you to sites that have recorded the region’s broad and deep geologic story.” As a professor of geology in the heart of Yellowstone country, Thomas has spent over 25 years teaching geology field courses and camps in Yellowstone. His endeavors include co-leading numerous GeoVentures field trips in Yellowstone for the Geological Society of America with Montana Western Professor of Geology Sheila Roberts and many years teaching geology field camps with the Yellowstone-Bighorn Research Association. Contributing further knowledge of Yellowstone country through written publications, geological road signs and public presentations, Thomas likewise has an impressive array of honors and awards to his credit. In 2009, Thomas received the prestigious U.S. Outstanding Baccalaureate Colleges Professor of the Year award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. In 2010, he was named Regents’ Professor by the Montana University System, the highest honor bestowed upon Montana university faculty. “Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country” is one in a series of “Roadside” books, each covering geological roadside features within different states. The books are published by Mountain Press of Missoula, Mont. Mountain Press was founded and c0-owned by University of Montana Emeritus Professors of Geology Dave Alt and Don Hyndman, who also taught both Thomas and Fritz.
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