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WVU geologist gives tour of West Virginia’s ‘roadside geology’ in new book

Blue sky, green trees and hills with dog standing on grey rock

Eastward view of the Valley and Ridge Province from Dolly Sods

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What’s the news?
The origins of the rolling hills and valleys of West Virginia is detailed in a new book by two West Virginia University professors, Joseph Lebold and Christopher Wilkinson. “Roadside Geology of West Virginia” will lead you through the state’s wild and wonderful landscape.

Quotes and comments
“I try to help people understand that West Virginia has been a very different place in the past – that our state has been covered by shallow tropical seas, sandy beaches, salty tidal flats and vast coastal swamps. I enjoy just getting people to appreciate that the land we call home hasn’t always looked the way it does today.” ­– Joseph Lebold, geology professor, WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

“We spent four years traveling the state, compiling references. It was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun. I got to go to places I never would have otherwise, meet people I wouldn’t have otherwise and see rocks that I wouldn’t have otherwise.” – Joseph Lebold

“As someone who devoted a significant part of his career to teaching students about my field –music –and for much of the time happily teaching those who were not majoring in any part of the field, I believe that one important responsibility of an academic professional is to present one’s understanding of some part of the universe to an interested lay audience. That requires the ability to step outside of one’s intellectual territory, look at it from the perspective of an outsider and work to present it in such a way that that outsider comes to understand it. This is the only book of its kind on this subject.” – Christopher Wilkinson, professor emeritus, WVU School of Music

“After retiring in 2013, I vowed to audit one course per semester on subjects of personal interest. I took copious notes during his (Lebold’s) lectures and showed up at his office hours to ask follow-up questions. During one of those meetings, I happened to notice a series of books all having the common title ‘Roadside Geology.’ This series seemed ideal for that purpose, but there was no volume on West Virginia. When I mentioned this, Joe said that someday he would like to write it. The books are not intended for specialists in geology, but for interested lay readers like me. I suggested that we collaborate. He agreed, and the rest is history.” –Christopher Wilkinson

Link to original story: West Virginia is shaped by geology

Roadside Geology of West Virginia

VIDEO: Inside WVU today feature (2:11): Joe Lebold and Christopher Wilkinson

VIDEO (0:19): Joe Lebold interview 

VIDEO (0:16): Christopher Wilkinson interview

AUDIO: WVUToday on the Radio feature (1:56): Joseph Lebold

Target audiences
West Virginians
Students interested in geology
Current geology students



CONTACT: Katlin Swisher, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences,

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.