Field Trip 10-21-01: Sideling Hill

Our trip to study the Geology of Western Maryland takes us to many of the same kind of environments, marshes, floodplains, and beaches, as our trip to Eastern Maryland. The only difference being that these are about 300 million years older.

Foremost among these was the Sideling Hill road cut and exhibit center. This exposure, a colossus among road cuts, was created during the late 1980s to allow Interstate 68 to pass through Sideling Hill, which had previously been a substantial obstacle. Happily, the State of Maryland grasped the educational potential of this unique locality and created an effective interpretive center there.

cut Center volunteer Dale Shelton provided ELT students with an orientation, then led them onto the huge outcrop. The sandstones, shales, and lignites exposed in the cuts record the presence of the marshes and rivers in which they were deposited. Their folded structure records the later collision of North America and Gondwana to form the Appalachians.