HISTORICAL FEATURES

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Charles Baskerville​ (1928-2009)

Let me tell you something. It is impossible to delve into any aspect of New York City geology without standing on the foundations laid by Charles Baskerville (1928–2009). This man's career spanned from 1958 to 2006, and he provided the most comprehensive research on NYC bedrock geology to date. During his career he worked as a Metropolitan Transit Authority engineering geologist, a USGS researcher, and professor of geology at the Central Connecticut State University.


New York City presents tremendous challenges to studying bedrock provinces as most of it is paved over. Charles B. took to tackling the largest to date project of creating the first comprehensive geologic map of NYC, and the first draft was published in 1992. His research and mapping is still used for any urban planning, and more importantly for the development of infrastructure and water tunnels.


Moreover, Charles B. is among the first to narrow down the position of an ordovician suture fault collectively known as "Cameron's Line (CL)." While his placement of the suture is contested by every university geology department in NYC, all research on CL is expanded from his work. Charles B. was one of the first to map and plot the existence of a highly annealed, migmatized zone of mylonitic rocks - a ductile shear zone that separates marbles and schists of differing compositions. Later, built on his mapping, it was found that the suture zone is likely an imbricate thrust fault system, and the debates and studies go on today. Charles B. was among the first to kick off one of the greatest holy grail quests in the history of NYC geology. The photos here are of the ductile shear zone in Tremont Park, originally mapped as CL, but renamed later as the St. Nicolas Thrust fault - considered a branch of CL. Charles Baskerville was the first to map this outcrop in terms of the tectonic framework of NYC bedrock geology.

Feature contributed by Ken Lazara (IG: @only1cannoli.geology.nature)

Published June 29, 2020

Charles Baskerville​. Photo provided by Ken Lazara.

Map of ductile shear zone in Tremont Park. Photo provided by Ken Lazara.

Photo of outcrop in ductile shear zone in Tremont Park. Photo provided by Ken Lazara.

Site last updated 06/29/2020

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