In The Restless Northwest, former Seattle Times science writer Hill Williams provides a fascinating overview of the geological processes that shaped the Northwest.
An attraction of the region is its varied terrain, from the volcanic Cascade mountain range to the flood-scoured scablands of eastern Washington and the eroded peaks of the northern Rockies. The vast differences, Williams notes, are the results of the collision of the old and the new. The western edge of Idaho was once the edge of ancient North America. As eons passed, a jumble of islands, minicontinents, and sediment piled up against the old continental edge, gradually extending it west to the present coastline.
Figuring out how and when these various landforms came together to create the Northwest took much geological detective work.
Unlike many geology books that focus on rocks, The Restless Northwest emphasizes the human drama of geology. The narrative includes firsthand accounts of people involved in the exciting geological discoveries of recent years.
The author enlivens the story of ancient geological events with fascinating asides on everything from enormous undersea tube worms to the Willamette meteorite, the largest ever discovered in the United States.
General readers will find Williams’s prose refreshingly free of scientific jargon and easy to understand.