Introduction to Appalachian/Caledonian Geology

The Ancient Orogeny as Ambassador of the Geosciences to Modern  Societies

Throughout human history, the geological foundation of our landscape has determined the location of settlements, trade routes, and human migratory paths, inextricably linking our culture to geology. For the past two decades, the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) has recognized our common geoheritage across the North Atlantic conjugate margins by establishing a long distance walking trail that extends beyond borders to all geographic regions once connected by the Appalachian/Caledonian Orogen, formed more than 400 million years ago on the super-continent Pangea.

To ensure our commitment to the heritage of Appalachian/Caledonian geology, the International Appalachian Trail has established a chronicle of geoscience investigators who over many decades of mapping and research contributed to the development of the theory of Plate Tectonics and successfully applied it to the Appalachian/Caledonian terranes, thereby establishing the foundation for the IAT.  A committee of IAT geologists including Walter Anderson, Robert Marvinney, Jim Hibbard, John Calder, and Hugh Barron established guidelines for choosing the deceased honorees outlining the key contributions to Appalachian/Caledonian geology.

Meet the Pioneers