MSU geologist co-authors first-of-its-kind Mississippi travel guide

MSU geology alumnus and faculty member Darrel Schmitz is co-author of a new “road log” designed to educate travelers about Mississippi’s many geological features. (Photo by Russ Houston)

Contact: Karyn Brown

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A veteran member of Mississippi State’s geosciences faculty is co-author of a new “road log” designed to educate travelers about Mississippi’s many geological features. 

Professor Darrel Schmitz, an alumnus of the university, wrote “Roadside Geology of Mississippi” with Stanley Galicki, an associate professor of geology at Millsaps College.

Their 288-page paperback is a recent release of Montana-based Mountain Press Publishing Company and is part of its Roadside Geology Series. For more, see  

“I was born and raised in Mississippi, so I thought this would be a great experience to uncover unknown geological locations,” Schmitz said. “I wanted people to be able to look out their window and know at what they were looking.”

The guide took a decade to compile because Mississippi has more geological features than many might expect, Schmitz said. The rocky outcrops of Tishomingo County, “Grand Canyon of Mississippi” near Foxworth, and Wilkerson County’s waterfalls are three personal favorites, he added.

Bill Cooke, MSU geosciences professor and department head, emphasized that Schmitz and Galicki’s book is the first in the Magnolia State to be designed primarily for wide readership. “It is meant to be a travel companion while driving the roads and is full of stories about ancient volcanoes and the role of the Mississippi River in shaping landscapes,” he added.

In a January critique posted on, one reader noted how this book was the 17th Roadside Geology entry from Mountain Press Publishing Company that he had read. “This is one of the best of the series,” the reviewer praised, citing as major reasons its “very accessible” and “well illustrated” contents.

A Fellow of the Geological Society of America, Schmitz is a 1980 MSU geology graduate who also holds a master’s degree from the University of Mississippi and doctorate from Texas A&M University. Before returning to the Starkville campus in 1990, he held professional positions with the Mississippi Department of Geology, as well as with commercial operations in Texas and Utah.

For more about Schmitz, see Galicki’s biographical information is found at

Now in its 101st year, the MSU geosciences department is part of the land-grant institution’s College of Arts and Sciences. For complete details, visit; the college, at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at