Featured

After having favourably reviewed the first two books in this three part series, I must admit I was very much looking forward to the publication of this last one. And, of course, I wasn’t disappointed. This is the third in a series of guides to safe and responsible fossil collecting along (this time), the East Dorset coast from the Chalk cliffs at Bat’s Head, across what are some of Dorset’s more remote coastal locations, to Hengistbury Head.

I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of ‘hydrogeology’ before, but I should have. Hydrogeology is an important and vibrant sub-set of geological science, dealing with the distribution and movement of water –groundwater – in the Earth’s soil and rocks. Groundwater transport is one part of the overall hydrological cycle in which water is transferred by evaporation from the oceans and seas into the atmosphere.

This is a new guide in Dunedin’s ‘Introducing …’ range of books, covering the branch of geology that studies rock layers (strata) and layering (stratification), primarily in sedimentary rocks, but also layered igneous rocks. In this way, it is intended for students and amateur geologist, rather than the academic earth scientist.

This 4th edition is the first edition of this book to be published with full colour illustrations throughout, and is presented as an enhancement and revision to the text to reflect advances in sedimentology since the publication the 3rd edition. Therefore, I suspect that it retains its place as a leading geological text and reference book for professional geologists and students alike.

I have reviewed some excellent previous guides in this series (Iceland: Classic Geology in Europe 3), but this one is closer to home and covers an area that I have fond memories of from my Munro-bagging days. This is more a companion guide for those walking in the Highlands, especially those on geological field trips.

Dunedin Academic Press has once again added a title to its series of introductions to scientific subjects. This one is a short introduction to an essential subject to any budding geologist (essential, because, as the author points out, 70% of the rocks on the Earth’s service are sedimentary in origin and are of the utmost economic importance to all of us.

This book would seem to be the follow up to the well-received A History of Life in 100 Fossils. However, this time, this glossy hardback tells the story of plants on earth using significant fossils that are, for the most part, kept at the Natural History Museum in London. Like that other book, it is set out in a simple format, in which a couple of sides of text are used to describe a full page colour photograph of the fossil in question.

This is one of the oldest of the GA’s guides and is currently in its third edition (the first having been published in 1957 and the second in 1972). Although there have been changes in classification and so on, the general exposures are largely as good as they used to be – or they were the last time I went!

Howgill Fells

This little guide contains excursion guides explaining and exploring the relationship in the UK between hillslope gully erosion and the response by stream and valley systems within the Howgill Fells of Cumbria. The author’s choice of this area rests on the fact that it is one of the most active landscapes in Britain from the point of view of erosion, with the steep slopes of the headwater valleys, which are riddled by networks of erosional gullies that have been active in the relatively recent past.

The is a second edition of Prof John Cope’s excellent geological guide to the Dorset coast for the Geologists’ Association. It is slightly shorter than the first edition, with some minor corrections and some of the figures revised, together with new photographs. It also now includes the huge quantity of data amassed over last few decades during the hydrocarbon exploration work in the county.

Nebraska has an excellent geological record, which is celebrated by some fine mosaics at the Nebraska State Capitol. When the building was being constructed, and at the request of Prof Hartley Burr Alexander of the Philosophy Department and from drawings by a colleague, the artist, Hildreth Meière, was asked to create a series of mosaics. These are now set out on the floor of the rotunda for all to see.

I remember reading and enjoying this book when the first edition came out many years ago. I am also a keen hillwalker and have stood on top of many of the Scottish mountains referred to in the text. In fact, I particularly enjoyed climbing Ben More on the island of Mull, which I remember reading was the last volcano in northwest Europe.

Those of you who have read a few of my book reviews will know that I love geo-guides to small geographical areas, rather than just the big geological scientific issues. In fact, there are lots of good UK guides like this one, to areas such as Dorset and Yorkshire, and many areas of Scotland and Wales, for example. And this is another excellent example of that genre.

Almeria is a province in southeast Spain, situated in the furthest southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. And it is a classic area for southern European and Mediterranean Neogene and Quaternary geology. In fact, it is not far north of the southern boundary of the European tectonic plate and, as a result, has been profoundly affected by the interaction of this and the African plate.

Geology of South Wales

I quite like regional guides books, even about areas I haven’t been to and am unlikely to visit. That isn’t the case for South Wales, which is one of my favourite areas in the UK for both scenery and geology. Therefore, this guide is another good addition to my collection and will no doubt accompany me soon on another holiday in the Principality.