Michael Collier Photography Exhibit

On display throughout the meeting
Colorado Convention Center, Exhibit Hall F

Geology is a storied science that chronicles Earth's ongoing evolution. Its tales are spoken with the throaty rumble of an erupting volcano; its words are whispered on winds that slowly abrade ridges of ancient gneiss. On hearing these stories, one learns a new language, one spoken by rocks and interpreted by science.

Landscapes seen from the ground can be beautiful but sometimes baffling. On the ground, like mites on an elephant, you don't know if you're sitting on the world's tooth or its toenail. But a view from the sky adds another dimension. Rise above and you can see Earth from trunk to tail.

From an aerial perspective, the fabric of entire landscapes becomes visible—mountains arching here, valleys plummeting there, lakes drowning, landslides collapsing. With an aerial panorama, one sees how large features are quilted together: granite peaks giving way to graceful sedimentary slopes, canyons seamlessly stitched into wider valleys. A sense of time is the geologist's best hand-lens, the open window of a small plane his best perch.

Collier's exhibit includes twenty color prints, each framed at ~20 × 27 inches. The aerial images are of landscapes that highlight a particular geologic idea. Each is captioned with a brief explanation of the earth processes involved, and topics span all aspects of the earth sciences, from mountain-building to river erosion and coastline sculpting. The exhibit has been assembled in conjunction with Michael Collier's series of geology books now being published by Mikaya Press.

Michael Collier received a B.S. in geology at Northern Arizona University, an M.S. in structural geology at Stanford University, and an M.D. degree from the University of Arizona. He has published books about the mountains of Arizona and the geology of Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Denali, and Capitol Reef National Parks, and more recently, about the Colorado River basin and the glaciers of Alaska. As a special projects writer with the U.S. Geological Survey, he wrote and photographed books about the San Andreas Fault, downstream effects of dams, and climate change.

Collier's work has hung at museums from California to Connecticut. His latest publication is Over the Mountains, first in the Mikaya Press series of books about landscape evolution. Collier received the U.S. Geological Survey 1997 Shoemaker Communication Award, the National Park Service Director's Award in 2000, and the American Geological Institute's 2005 Award for Public Understanding of Geology.

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