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Maine geologist to update Lancaster Quadrangle map this summer

Woody Thompson (click for larger version)
May 09, 2019
LANCASTER — Woodrow "Woody" Thompson, Ph.D., a semi-retired geologist from Maine, has recently embarked on a summer updating the Lancaster Quadrangle, which will find him working in the three towns of Lancaster, Whitefield and Jefferson.

"I'm working for the New Hampshire Geological Survey, doing field work for the Department of Environmental Services, a natural resource agency for which I have no regulatory responsibilities," Thompson explained.

"I will be mapping bedrock and rock formations along with surficial geology, including sand, gravel and clay, but not topsoil.

"I expect to be able to have the map digitized by around Labor Day," he said. "LiDAR technology — aerial laser imaging of the land surface — has the advantage of seeing through the trees, often providing us an idea of what the land surface looked like soon after glaciers melted away. I start my work by driving slowly on all the existing roads, making careful observations of earth materials, bedrock exposure, rock debris, and 'glacial till' that can be sandy or hard pan."

Thompson explained that one of the area's most distinctive features in the valley is water-laid sediments from water pouring off the melting glaciers. Ice dams caught and blocked some of this captured water, making large temporary lakes.

"I drive a Subaru Forester with Maine license plates," he pointed out. "I've notified local police departments and other law enforcement that I'll be driving around and stopping to look at the earth's surface. I don't want anyone to think I'm a burglar!"

Come mid-July, Thompson and Bates College Professor J. Dykstra Eusden, also of Maine and Randolph in the suymmer, will collaborate on giving an on-site field trip at Weeks State Park from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on July 18 and then an 7 p.m. evening talk. Both events are sponsored by the Weeks State Park Association, as are all the Thursday evening slide-talks throughout the summer weeks.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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