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Geology With Dr Barrens

Last Saturday, Dr. Barrans led an extracurricular field trip to view the geology of Mars Hill, a landmark south of Limestone that bears a large wind power generating installation and the Big Rock Ski Area.. The erosion-resistant Mars Hill Conglomerate is underneath the limy Carys Mills Formation that gives our area soil that’s so good for growing potatoes. For some reason, at Mars Hill the conglomerate has been pushed upwards, so that the Carys Mills rock has eroded to expose it. Construction of the wind turbine project produced some good exposures of the conglomerate, which previously was hard to study because it was forested. In our field trip, we took advantage of the road cuts to get some good looks at the rock.

When we arrived at the parking area of Big Rock Ski Area to begin our hike, we were joined by a friendly corgi who accompanied us the whole time we were there. We walked up a ski run, along part of the International Appalachian Trail, and down the service road for the wind project to get a good perspective on the conglomerate and its contact with the overlying limestone. The weather was perfect.

Lochlan and a corgi in front of the wind turbines.

Lochlan and a corgi in front of the wind turbines.

On the way up, we took in the views of eastern Aroostook County.

On the way up, we took in the views of eastern Aroostook County.

The exposure in the road cut Ms. Dulac pointed out.

The exposure in the road cut Ms. Dulac pointed out.

Here’s a good exposure of the Mars Hill conglomerate.

Here’s a good exposure of the Mars Hill conglomerate. Note the rounded cobbles eroding out of the groundmass, and the impressions remaining in the groundmass where other cobbles already weathered away. Lens cap for scale.

Another close-up of the conglomerate. Rock hammer for scale.

Another close-up of the conglomerate. Rock hammer for scale.

Lochlan takes a sample.

Lochlan takes a sample.