Exploring the Geology of the Carolinas

A Field Guide to Favorite Places from Chimney Rock to Charleston

By Kevin G. Stewart, Mary-Russell Roberson

320 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 12 color plates., 86 halftones, 44 maps, 1 graphs, 1 tables, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5786-1
    Published: February 2007
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2573-7
    Published: December 2015
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7555-6
    Published: December 2015

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How were the Appalachian Mountains formed? Are the barrier islands moving? Is there gold in the Carolinas? The answers to these questions and many more appear in this reader-friendly guide to the geology of North Carolina and South Carolina. Exploring the Geology of the Carolinas pairs a brief geological history of the region with 31 field trips to easily accessible, often familiar sites in both states where readers can observe firsthand the evidence of geologic change found in rocks, river basins, mountains, waterfalls, and coastal land formations.

Geologist Kevin Stewart and science writer Mary-Russell Roberson begin by explaining techniques geologists use to "read" rocks, the science of plate tectonics, and the formation of the Carolinas. The field trips that follow are arranged geographically by region, from the Blue Ridge to the Piedmont to the Coastal Plain. Richly illustrated and accompanied by a helpful glossary of geologic terms, this field guide is a handy and informative carry-along for hikers, tourists, teachers, and families--anyone interested in the science behind the sights at their favorite Carolina spots.

Includes field trips to:

Grandfather Mountain, N.C.

Linville Falls, N.C.

Caesars Head State Park, S.C.

Reed Gold Mine, N.C.

Pilot Mountain State Park, N.C.

Raven Rock State Park, N.C.

Sugarloaf Mountain, S.C.

Santee State Park, S.C.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park, N.C.

Carolina Beach State Park, N.C.

and 21 more sites in the Carolinas!

Southern Gateways Guide is a registered trademark of the University of North Carolina Press

About the Authors

Kevin G. Stewart is associate professor of geological sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For more information about Kevin G. Stewart, visit the Author Page.

Mary-Russell Roberson is a freelance writer living in Durham, North Carolina.
For more information about Mary-Russell Roberson, visit the Author Page.


“This book is a must for anyone interested in the outdoors of the Carolinas. Complete with a comprehensive glossary of terms, it is a perfect start for budding geologists of all ages, from 10 to 100.” —Orrin Pilkey, author of How to Read a North Carolina Beach

Exploring the Geology of the Carolinas fills a long-standing void in the plethora of regional field guides. Now you can learn the geologic history of our favorite places to explore." —Joe Miller, outdoors writer, Raleigh News and Observer

“This book will be a must for any naturalist traveling in the Carolinas who has an interest in the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of the origin of this most interesting region.” —Willie Calloway, executive director of the South Carolina State Museum