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Charles Alexander Baskerville captured our imagination, as a senior colleague in the practice of engineering geology in New York City. “Charlie” held the seat of master Big Apple Geologist during his matured career. He was the source, he knew the possibilities, he was aware of the pitfalls of this most geologically complex of American cities. His final work was his greatest reach—the four bedrock geologic quadrangles of the city. Baskerville mapped New York City for more than fifty years. He was sought and given access to sites of bedrock and bedrock/ overburden interface on the various capitol construction projects undertaken by the City of New York including City Water Tunnel #3.

Charles Baskerville had a vision and a sense of duty about his profession: to make the most of his opportunity to practice and to teach applied geology in one of the most difficult of all territories known to geologists—America’s largest city. Professor Baskerville fully knew that the geologic complexities of New York City will never be known to the degree to which new and renovated engineered works can be insulated from huge potentials of cost impacts related to geologic conditions. What he did to improve this situation was to make the most of his determination to solve the emerging riddles and to teach many other geologists, engineers, and public officials to pay attention to what each generation of Big Apple geologists have left us as their legacy. Charlie will hold that record for the foreseeable future, for he worked smart, hard, and gave of his time and knowledge freely and openly.


This work originally appeared in Geological Society of America Memorials, v. 40, May 2011.



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