May 1, 2012

Monday Geology Picture: Chesterfield Gorge, New Hampshire

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

A waterfall along the fault, Chesterfield Gorge, New Hampshire.

This week’s geology picture was taken in the Chesterfield Gorge, which is located just a few minutes from my parents’ house in southern New Hampshire. I would often explore and play at the gorge as a child. I used to like to throw things into the gorge and watch them go over the waterfalls. I once duct-taped a Princess Leia figurine into a plastic toy kayak and watched her go over the falls. Miraculously, Leia made it over the falls, and I retrieved her. She did lose her stick paddle, though.  Also, her arm was also falling off a little bit, but I managed to repair her with quick field surgery.

The gorge is an interesting place, geologically. I remember being fascinated when I first read, as a child, that the gorge was created quickly by movement along a fault, not by the slow carving of a stream. You can see the evidence of the fault very clearly in the photograph above. You can see that the tilted, offset layers still have sharp edges; they have not yet been worn away by many years of erosion by water.

I’m headed up to New Hampshire next week after I hand in my thesis revisions. Perhaps I’ll visit the gorge again and share more pictures and geological explanation. Sadly, my mother tells me that these days one must be careful when visiting the gorge. In my childhood, I could play there with my friends and be perfectly safe. Recently, however, the gorge has been the site of some illegal activities and dealings, so one has to be a little bit more careful when visiting, and children definitely shouldn’t play there alone. Nevertheless, the geology is so spectacular that I may bring Dana Hunter there when she visits me next week. I can’t wait for Dana to visit. You can expect some fun posts about her trip in the next few weeks!