Rhode Island’s Ocean and Coastal Magazine

Winter 2018: Geology


This issue explores the geology behind Rhode Island’s maritime history, recreation, and ecology. 


Correction: The aerial photo on page 20 includes a portion of Providence, but not the filled land described in the article.

From the Editor


Underlying every wave that crashes on Rhode Island’s shore are millions of years of geologic history. In this issue, we examine the many surprising ways that geology shapes life along our coast.

41°N: Rhode Island’s Ocean and Coastal Magazine, produced by Rhode Island Sea Grant and the Coastal Institute at the University of Rhode Island, is dedicated to bringing you stories and images that reveal interesting and unexpected details of scientific discoveries, the ocean economy, Rhode Island history, and the lives of people who work on and around the water.

We are committed to ensuring that 41°N is available to all readers free of charge, but we need your help. Your generous donation today will help support the work of our writers, editors, and photographers as they report on Rhode Island’s maritime people, places, and heritage. We value a gift in any amount, but whether you can give or not, please know that we appreciate your being a part of the 41°N community.

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Please write to Letters, 41°N Editorial Office, Rhode Island Sea Grant, URI Bay Campus, Narragansett, RI 02882, or email

– Features –

A Lifetime Under the Waves

    THE WORD "LAB" may suggest white coats, microscopes, and petri dishes. But for Jon Witman and the members of his lab at Brown University, the word has a completely different—and wetter—connotation. The group of 10 spends much of their time together as a lab in the...

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Endeavor | Fantastic Voyages Near End

    IT HAS CRUISED THE WORLD'S OCEANS FOR 42 YEARS—more than a million nautical miles from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific and from the Arctic to the Black Sea—and now is nearing retirement. But the R/V Endeavor is still hard at work about 200 days each year,...

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Diving Deep For New Drug Therapies

HUMANS HAVE RELIED ON A VARIETY OF NATURAL COMPOUNDS from plants, fungi, and other organisms for their medicinal properties for many thousands of years. The search for new medicines to treat diseases has long relied on these natural products, so much so that...

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Polymer Tides | Shared Inspiration at the Shoreline

    The Rhode Island shoreline has inspired generations of artists—you can scarcely browse an art fair anywhere in the state without seeing evidence of it—but where many are moved to paint watercolors of lighthouses or take pensive photographs of sunsets over the bay,...

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Book Review | The Stowaway

    THERE WAS A TIME WHEN ANTARCTICA, not the deep ocean, was considered “the last frontier on Earth left to explore,” and in 1928, the man determined to do so—and to cement his fame,  if not his fortune—was Cmdr. Richard Evelyn Byrd. By then, the explorer and retired...

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Ice and Oysters

An oyster may seem like a simple food; plucked straight from the water, it can be enjoyed on the spot, without any extra ingredients or cooking necessary. While its preparation may seem simple, its consumption reveals a complex story of glaciers and environment. The...

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41ºN, Rhode Island Sea Grant
University of Rhode Island
Narragansett Bay Campus
Narragansett, RI 028882-1197

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