The Connecticut River Valley: 500 Million Years of History

This one-day trip will take you through 500 million years of geologic history in southern Connecticut. The day begins with a Connecticut River cruise on RiverQuest for a broader view of the state’s geological history and a discussion of the origins of local gem minerals. We will examine features of the natural surroundings and human beings’ interactions with them over the centuries. 

Following lunch at Eagle’s Landing State Park (bring your own picnic), we will reassemble in nearby Ponset, Connecticut, to examine rock outcroppings along the Route 9 corridor in Haddam. We will then drive to Gillette Castle State Park for a second stop. The field trip will include examination of the path along which magma flowed to the surface 200 million years ago and rocks that once formed part of Africa, moved by plate tectonics to eventually collide with North America. We will also study evidence of the impact of the last Ice Age on the local landscape.

Note: Some may want to arrange carpooling from cruise site. Activity level: Low to moderately challenging, with short walks, some uneven terrain, and periods of standing (20 min.).


Instructor: Mark Evans

Date: Saturday, September 25, 2021

Time: 10:00 am to 3:00pm. Half hour for lunch (food not included). Optional field stop 3:30 - 5:00pm. Rain date possible.

Location: field trip beginning in Eagle's Landing State Park

Cost: $145 (includes RiverQuest ticket)


  • Suggested Reading List

    The Face of Connecticut by Michael Bell. Can be purchased on Amazon. Here is a web link to the book (may be blocked in some private networks like Universities):

    Great Day Trips to Discover Geology of Connecticut by Greg McHone. Can be purchased on Amazon.

    Stories in Stone: How Geology Influenced Connecticut History and Culture by Jelle Zeilinga de Boer. Can be purchased on Amazon.