Explore travel tips and itinerary ideas.

Q&A with Geologist Nick Zentner

Nick Zentner is a geology instructor at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. Outside of his work with the university, Nick is known for his online videos covering the geology of the Northwestern United States and for his PBS television show, Nick on the Rocks. Recently, Nick has been keeping us entertained at home with live-stream lectures on various geology topics in a series called Nick From Home. Central Washington Outdoor had the privilege of asking Nick a few questions about geology and Kittitas County, here are his answers:

How long have you been a geologist? What attracted you to geology?

Nick began studying geology in 1984 after working in Glacier National Park in 1983. Since 1986, he has been an esteemed professor at Central Washington University, teaching a popular “Geology of Washington” course.

Nick credits his love for geology to his first experience in the mountains, explaining that his passion quickly flourished after being introduced to just a few geology basics.

Does Kittitas County have any unique or noteworthy geological features that visitors should explore?

Central Washington is full of impressive geological features. Naming a few, Nick mentions our area’s glacial history, earthquake history, lava flows, gold deposits, and blue agates.

If you are interested in learning about these topics and more, visit Nick’s website or subscribe to his YouTube channel for captivating video lectures on a variety of local topics!

Along with teaching geology at Central Washington University, you also speak at events throughout our community and post educational videos online. What is your favorite topic to cover during these appearances?

A testament to his passion for geology, Nick says, “My favorite topic is whatever I’m currently featuring. There is so much to learn, so much to share. That’s the beauty of this. There are so many amazing sites and research topics right here in the county.”


What are some of your favorite locations in Kittitas County to visit?

Nick lists the goldfields of Liberty and the blue agate fields north of Ellensburg as the destinations that top his list, adding “everybody loves those topics.”

Connect with Nick online to stay up-to-date on upcoming appearances and to learn more about local geology:

Website: nickzentner.com