The Geology of Groton State Forest
Library of Alexandria
Geology is the study of the history of the earth as recorded in its rocks. This study explains why certain types of rocks and minerals occur at one place and not another, why the forms of the land differ from one region to another, and why particular animal and plant remains are sometimes preserved as fossils in certain kinds of rocks. The professional geologist makes these studies his business; the amateur finds these studies a fascinating hobby; but the uninitiated person misses much of the pleasure of travel. Anyone who notices the difference between rocks or terrains and wonders “why?”, has a potential for geology. Many fall into this class and it is for them that this booklet has been written. It is hoped that with its aid, the traveler or vacationer may come to know something about the geology of Groton State Forest. The author is confident that those who come into the habit of observing nature and the world around them will find more meaning in life itself. In any case, those traveling with children may find answers to some of their questions about minerals, rocks and mountains. Groton State Forest is not a geologist’s paradise—as compared to Yellowstone Park or the Grand Canyon—but it does contain interesting rocks and land forms which can be explained geologically. In keeping with the calm, subdued and mature atmosphere of the Vermont countryside, the geology is unobtrusive. There are few jutting cliffs or bare rock exposures; all is mantled with vegetation. If this vegetation could be stripped away—admittedly, a postulation that would destroy the wilderness and charm that belongs to Groton—boulders and gravelly glacial deposits would be seen to fill the valleys. If in turn these boulders and the soil could be stripped away, a continuous floor of rock would be exposed. This would be a geologist’s paradise—square miles of bare rock would be available for study. However, lacking the magic wand to perform this feat, we must be satisfied to glean what information we can from the existing rock exposures. To use a pun, it can be said that almost all the rocks found at Groton State Forest can be taken for granite. As well as has been determined, all the underlying rock is granite and most of the boulders deposited by glaciers of the last ice age are the same type of granite. To avoid confusion in describing these rocks, the discussion has been divided into two parts: the first deals with the granite of the bedrock, and the second deals with the glaciation of the area and the deposits resulting from it. A third section describes the geology in some of the nearby areas.