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Wayne State University Press

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Under Michigan

The Story of Michigan's Rocks and Fossils

Charles Ferguson Barker

Award Winner

By WSU Faculty, Geology, Michigan, Young Readers

Great Lakes Books Series

Published: October 2005
ISBN: 9780814330883
Pages: 56 Size: 8.5 x 11
Illustrations: 25 color illus.
Published: October 2005
ISBN: 9780814336496

Children of all ages will be mesmerized.

— Westland Observer

Most people recognize Michigan by its mitten-shaped Lower Peninsula and the Great Lakes embracing the state. Underneath the earth’s surface, however, is equally distinctive evidence of an exciting history. Michigan rests on sedimentary rocks that reach down into the earth’s crust more than fourteen thousand feet—a depth three-and-a-half times deeper than the Grand Canyon. Within these layers of rock rest all sorts of ancient fossils and minerals that date back to the eras when tropical seas spread across Michigan and hot volcanoes flung molten rock into its skies—long before mile-thick glaciers bulldozed over Michigan and plowed through ancient river valleys to form the Great Lakes.

Under Michigan is the first book for young readers about the geologic history of the state and the structure scientists call the Michigan Basin. A fun and educational journey, Under Michigan explores Earth’s geological past, taking readers far below the familiar sights of Michigan and nearby places to explain the creation of minerals and fossils and show where they can be found in the varying layers of rock. Readers will learn about the hard rock formations surrounding Michigan and also discover the tall mountain ridges hidden at the bottom of the Great Lakes. With beautiful illustrations by author Charles Ferguson Barker, a glossary of scientific terms, and charming page to keep field notes, Under Michigan is a wonderful resource for young explorers to use at home, in school, or on a trip across Michigan.

Charles Ferguson Barker teaches introductory Geology at Wayne State University where he is adjunct faculty in the Geology Department. He is a member of the Geological Society of America and the Association of Environmental Professionals and has been working in the environmental consulting field for eighteen years where he has been involved with issues ranging from water supply contamination to air quality.

This book provides a most accessible and enjoyable treatment of the beautiful and orderly layered rock 'underworld' of the Great Lakes region. Young and old alike may view the subtle surface topography of Michigan in a whole new way. The creative illustrations capture the imagination but, at the same time, are very accurate representations of subsurface geological structures.

– Lynn Walter, University of Michigan

In this charming book for young readers, aspiring scientists can have fun learning about the rocks below the Michigan surface, including the mountains underneath Lake Huron, the salt beds under Detroit, and the oldest rocks in Michigan, located near Escanaba, Ishpeming, and Marquette.

– Mary Jane Happy, Heritage Newspapers

Children of all ages will be mesmerized. Barker spent about a year writing the book but more than 20 years researching it. He takes the reader from the formation of the planet around 4.5 billion years ago to the icy-cold glaciers that sculpted the Great Lakes. He touches on underwater mountains, caves, and the rock salts beds under the city of Detroit.

– Westland Observer

  • 2006 Michigan Notable Book Awards - Result: 1 of 20 selected annually
  • 2006 Michigan Notable Book Awards - Result: 1 of 20 selected annually