Vt unveils new map of state's bedrock - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt unveils new map of state's bedrock

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

Bright colors and carefully crafted details are bringing Vermont's new geological map to life.

"This is a generational accomplishment," Vt. Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz said.

It's an accomplishment 30 years in the making.

"The geological map of Vermont illustrates not just the layers of rock below our feet, but it tells the story of Vermont; the history of our state from its earliest contours to the present," Markowitz said.

For the last three decades geologists, students, and volunteers have canvassed the Green Mountain State by foot to carefully document Vermont's landscape.

"It's built on the shoulders of people who did research in Vermont for 50 years before that and so it is the cumulative result of a lot of investigations," said Nicholas Ratcliffe of the U.S. Geological Survey

Investigations scientists say can have a real and tangible impact on life today.

Geologists argue the new map can shed light and drive research on a number of environmental concerns including water supply issues, natural geochemical hazards and rock falls. Vermont's Secretary of Natural Resources says the map also shows why the state has been developed the way it has and could help outline plans for the future.

"When you look at it you could notice where the ski areas are, mines, forests, farms, tourism; they're all connected with our state geology," Markowitz said.

Geology that's clearer than ever before. The new map goes where earlier versions from 1961 and 1861 do not. It's the first since the development of plate tectonics and shows more than 400 types of rock.

"Think of Vermont as being as old as its rocks. The oldest rocks in Vermont are 1,400 million years old," Ratcliffe said.

And while they're old, advocates say this map may help unlock valuable resources within their layers. Right now scientists are using the map to help find potential geothermal energy sources in Vermont.

UVM geologists are also excited about the new map. They say it will allow them to collaborate on research with other national and international colleagues.

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