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subduction & orogeny
An underground story, retold in stainless steel and metaphoric rocks


The paradigm shift commonly referred to as Plate Tectonics includes subduction, which is illustrated above and incorporated in our sculpture.  The Andes are built on the continental crust of the relatively rigid South American Plate. The Andean volcanoes result from melting of oceanic crust as the Nazca plate is subducted beneath the South American plate.  The driving force of the subduction is the higher density of the oceanic lithosphere compared to that of the continental lithosphere. The Farallon plate subducting under the North American plate similarly produces the Cascade volcanoes.

In our sculpture, we show a piece of continent (#1, limestone with fossils) being carried piggyback on the oceanic plate towards another continent.  When #1 collides with this continent, an orogeny occurs.  Orogeny refers to what happens in the continental crust when mountains are formed; an example is the Himalayas. We found rocks at a local ornamental stone outlet that represent portions of the subduction and orogenic processes.  Oceanic crust is the gabbro “wheels” of #12.  Above this igneous rock is sandstone (#2), deposited on the ocean floor,  and sandstone (#3), eroded from the continent.  The yellow cast acrylic under the volcano represents a chamber of liquid rock, and the green cast acrylic of the oceanic lithosphere represents the mantle (oceanic lithosphere + asthenosphere).  We couldn’t find a piece of peridotite large enough to place here, but, if we did, it would be green due to being made of about 80% of the green mineral olivine.  The processes that occur at the boundary between the subducting plate and continental plate are represented by the serpentine of #4 (serpentine is made from the reaction of olivine with water).  Melt from the subducting slab can lead to formation of the plagioclase-rich rock anorthosite, #11.  Anorthosite, incidentally, forms the white areas we see on the moon.  A typical rock found in continental crust is granite, #7, which looks like #5 when it is sheared across a great fault; #10 is sheared anorthosite.  If granite is re-melted, it can look like #9, which we place near a heat source under the volcano.  A granite from Finland, #8, represents ancient (more than 2 billion years old) continental crust.

Subduction and Orogeny presents the latest and best science as a ‘painting’ in stone and stainless steel. The stainless steel provides the manipulated canvas and the easels on which selected jewels of the rock world are composed. This is a science story told through art. The abstracted diagram is designed to be a teaching tool as much as it is designed to glow, to sparkle, and to be touched; it is a metaphor for the changes that lie at the foundation of our world and our lives here on Earth.


Lincoln Hollister, Professor of Geology, Princeton University
Alan Goodheart, Landscape Architect, Princeton NJ

Lincoln Hollister, Professor of Geology
Department of Geosciences
 411 Guyot Hall, Princeton University
Princeton NJ 08544
609-258-4106 tel
609-258-1274 fax

Alan Goodheart ASLA Landscape Architect
255 South Harrison Street
Princeton NJ 08540-5609
609-924-9041 tel
 609-924-6148 fax

Dave Vermaat, Senior Designer – Custom Fabrication Inc.
P.O. Box 431
2903 NY route 7
Harpursville NY 13787
607-693-3223 ext 23 tel
607-693-3226 fax

Matt Kiefer, Owner – Kiefer Landscapes, Inc.
180 Franklin Road, K-9
Lawrenceville NJ 08648
609-895-1600 tel
609-895-1680 fax
609-209-1088 cell

Bob Balchunas, Owner; Pete Driscoll, Operations Manager – Advanced Cutting Services LLC
169 East Highland Parkway
Roselle NJ 07203-2643
908-241-5332 tel
908-241-5592 fax

Tom Loveday, Proprietor; Mack El-Halaly, Production – Trenton Stone Company
Wilburtha Road and the D & R Feeder Canal
Trenton NJ 08618
609-882-2449 tel
609-635-0765 cell (Mack)


Quark Park is being developed by Kevin Wilkes, AIA; Peter Soderman; and Alan Goodheart, ASLA. The World Hope Foundation has joined forces with this team to be the fiscal agent for the project. The World Hope Foundation mission supports self-determination in communities by bringing resources to community members and educational experts that are willing to step forward and enhance the lives of their children and elders. The Foundation is a qualified as a Federal 501 (c)(3) charitable organization and as such is eligible to solicit and support charitable causes.
World Hope Foundation
Web design and photos by Cie Stroud are © 2006

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