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Fire and Ice: A Boston Harbor Geology Tour

Event details

We paddle all the time in rocky environments, and the rocks all have a story to tell. Some of the stories are millions or billions of years old. But how often are we able to read and appreciate these narratives?

This trip will allow paddlers to see, touch and understand the stories written in the geology of Boston's Outer Harbor. Launching from Hull's Pemberton Point, our goal will be to visit Lovell, Little Brewster, Calf and perhaps Green Islands. Along the way we'll stop, examine and discuss specific land and water features, and find out what they have to tell us.

Boston Harbor is an especially fertile place for such an exploration. It has been shaped by extreme events: ice ages, molten rock, tectonic rifts and continental collisions. We will view ancient bedrock features that reflect the formation and breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea, hundreds of millions of years ago. One of its pieces eventually became part of Boston, including some of the harbor islands. Boston Harbor is also the only drowned drumlin field in the United States, with streamlined landforms of sediment that reflect the most recent ice age and the ensuing sea level rise. We will see how these landforms took shape, and are still being actively shaped today, by constant erosion and deposition.

About the organizers: George Planansky was a geologist in a past life and tripped along the coast from Newport to Nain.  These days he rocks in his kayak with NSPN. Joe Berkovitz is an NSPN member with a background in educational technology and natural curiosity. The Outer Harbor is where he first realized he was in love with sea kayaking.

The trip is about 10 nautical miles, with a few exposed ocean portions and rocky beach landings: something between L2 and L3. Slack before flood is mid-afternoon, so we will ride the ebb current out of Hull Gut and the Harbor, and ride the flood back in. The trip length, exposure and busy boat traffic make this paddle not appropriate for beginning paddlers.

This paddle does not cancel for rain or for moderate conditions. Big conditions or storms will cancel and we will work out an alternate date.

There is a limit of 10 paddlers for this trip, including the organizers. Please private message Joe if capacity has been reached and you want to get on the waitlist. A private message thread for the trip will be started as the date approaches.

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