The Geology of Fallingwater

April 18, 2024 12:00pm EDT

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Built of very special local stone, incorporating large boulders, resting on bedrock, cantilevered over a stream and waterfall and with stories and balconies that echo underlying rock strata, the organic design of Fallingwater is rooted in geology.

The landscape into which Fallingwater is nestled reflects ancient rivers, beaches, mountain building and an erosional signal from distant Pleistocene glaciers. This webinar will reveal many new insights about the art and science of organic design of Fallingwater. Summaries of joint research conducted by Fred Zelt, Ph.D., Earth Science Excursions, LLC; Jim Shaulis, Pennsylvania Geological Survey (retired); and Grant Wach, Ph.D., Dalhousie University, will also be shared.

About the Presenters

Fred Zelt, Ph.D.

Earth Science Excursions, LLC

Western Pennsylvania native Fred Zelt started learning from rock outcrops at 17 years old, earned geology degrees at MIT and Princeton (Ph.D.), and served for 30 years as a researcher, explorer and executive with ExxonMobil that included assignments in Houston, Norway, England and New Orleans. In retirement, Fred returned to Western Pennsylvania and took up bicycling, pedaled across the USA, created a STEM and Cycling curriculum, created Earth Science Excursions, LLC and led more than 70 geology-themed hikes and bike rides. His informal YouTube videos about the geology and landscapes of Western Pennsylvania’s bike trails have accumulated several thousand views. In 2023, Fred led the first geologic study of Fallingwater and published the results in Geological Society of America Field Guide 66. Fred and his wife, Donna, have been married for 42 years and have four adult children and six grandchildren.