Historic stratigraphic illustrations depict the earth beneath our feet in captivating hand-drawn diagrams. Each drawing tells a unique geologic story, exquisitely rendered in colors from pastel palettes to brilliant bolds that show evolving scientific graphic conventions over time.
Created by federal and state geologists over the course of one hundred years, the maps reveal sedimentary rock layers that present an unexpected view of our treasured public lands, making this collection an important record of natural resources, as well as a beautiful display of map design. The fascinating history of the science behind the drawings is explored by sedimentary geologist Jody Bourgeois, a professor emeritus at the University of Washington's College of the Environment and a fellow of the Geological Society of America.
About the Author
David Kassel, founder of ILevel, an art installation firm in New York City, has been collecting stratigraphic drawings for some forty years. While an art student at the State University of New York, in 1977, he came across two small geological cross-section diagrams at an old bookshop in Nyack, New York. Though unfamiliar with their origins, he immediately responded to the lines and colors of these scientific documents, and bought them for ten cents each. Today, he owns two hundred geological illustrations, including cross-sections, isometric drawings, and mining maps.
"Visually striking...This volume will be of most interest to those who love maps, those who love art, or those who love both, including geologists."
"What a brilliant, inspired idea! Geological maps are always the most memorable of cartographic creations, with their vivid colors and strange patterns telling us of the mysterious invisible underpinnings of our world. And geological cross sections, which have an extra sort of three-dimensionality to them, are even more spectacular. The notion of illustrating America by way of her unseen underneath is a stroke of genius, and David Kassel is to be applauded for allowing us to see this country in a very different, fascinating and beautiful light."
- Simon Winchester
"Who would have guessed geology could be so seductive? The diagrams in this collection offer us multiple layers of graphical delight in an evocative, page-turning experience. The bold use of shape and color, the originality of its layouts, and the meticulous attention to detail make this a riveting compilation for any graphic design enthusiast."
- Manuel Lima
"Here's an entirely new way for most of us to look at the places we live and love-the beauty of these drawings is matched only by the stories they tell about both deep geological history and the human saga of extraction."
- Bill McKibben
"A must for anyone who appreciates geology or antique atlases and maps."
- Library Journal
"Kassel has turned a personal collection and fascination into a beautiful and genre-expanding book. Hand-drawn stratigraphic illustrations created by state and federal geologists over the past 100 years reveal the story of our public lands. Depicting a record of natural resources in a rainbow palette, the book doubles as a record of map design."
- AIA New York
"Another potential antidote to our current annus horribilis might be David Kassel's A Slice through America: A Geological Atlas. In 50 plates, with many enlarged details, the New York-based artist takes us across the continent with an almost fetishistic devotion to the cross-sectional presentation of topography. A guaranteed crowd-pleaser among geology nerds and designers looking for inspiration from the graphical depiction of our planet's structure."
- ARCHITECT Magazine
"Artist David Kassel has assembled a unique compilation that might be called 'found science.' All sections of the country are represented, among them places near home you may want to examine in depth....[T]he colorful cross-sectional representations convey an abstract sense of drama, revealing tipped and twisted levels of long-buried terrain sculpted by powerful forces of tectonics, deposition, and erosion."
- Natural History
"You may not think that you love geographical maps, but one glance at A Slice Through America will confirm it. The large-format collection of landscape cross sections, all rippling with color, is an eye-opening way to appreciate our country's beauty."
- Martha Stewart Living