This is a lovely example of photographs used to inspire and text to explain. For many years, Dr Tony Waltham has produced a photo plus explanatory text for the back cover of the glossy magazine, Geology Today. The book represents a compilation of 110 such back covers that set out a “photographic journey” around some of the most impressive geological landscapes of the world as a result of his own travels.
As the author, John McManus, writes: “The East Neuk of Fife was blessed with a mineral resource that was relatively easy to access”. This resource was coal – the driver of the industrial revolution and, even before then, a crucial element to the area’s industrial development from medieval times (or even Roman times) to the late twentieth century.
The ‘Bracklesham Beds’ are a series of predominantly soft silty sands and clayey silts laid down in a sub-tropical shallow marine environment around 46Ma. Fossils are readily eroded and can be found loose on the beach along with modern sea shells. The guide has simple maps to direct fossil hunters to the best areas for surface-picking and likely exposures when the beach sand has been removed.
This is clearly one for our German readers, of which I am glad to say there are many. However, this glossy and excellently produced hardback, covering the fossils of the Alpstein region of Switzerland, may have general appeal to anyone interested in the identification and study of fossils from various parts of the world, despite being written in German.
Professor Robert Diffendal Jr’s little guidebook to the Great Plains of the USA makes for a fascinating read for an Englishman like me, who has never been there (but wants to). He makes it plain that they rarely correspond to the impression most people have of them.
I’ve been waiting for a book like this for a very long time and am delighted that a publication of this quality has now arrived. New books covering British palaeontology are always welcome.
This Dunedin Academic press guide provides, at an introductory level, a succinct and readable guide to metamorphism. As readers will know, metamorphic rocks are one of the three main types of rocks.
The second edition of this guide is written to explain the key concepts of tectonics and rock structures to students and to interested amateurs. I have reviewed a number of Graham Park’s books in recently years (see below) and he is clearly a prolific and excellent writer of books about the earth sciences.
Mountains: The origins of the Earth’s mountain systems is written for readers with an interest in mountains and in developing their understanding of the geological processes that create them.
The Crowood Press are really developing a nice little series of books on the landscape and geology of select regions of the British Isles, and Tony Waltham’s addition to the series about the Peak District is well worth a read. This new one follows the same format as the others – beautiful, full colour photos and diagrams, a fascinating chapter on each of the important geological and geomorphological aspects of the area (including buildings and industry), and an author who knows his stuff and can write it down with an easy and authoritative style.
In this second edition, Dougal Jerram has revised and updated the 2001 version, first published by Alwyn Scarth and Jean-Claude Tanguy. This is to reflect modern research and understanding of Europe’s volcanoes of the last 10,000 years (active, dormant and extinct).
This is another of the GA’s short guides, being only 21 pages long and therefore easy to put in a cagoule pocket. Importantly, the five excursions described in the guide are centred on the city of Plymouth. Therefore, the logistics necessary to visit the itineraries should be relatively easy.
This GA guide is stated to be a “Geology Teaching Trail”. Well, it may be, but when I ambled along the trail with the guide in my hand, I certainly wasn’t in a teaching situation. Rather, I was out for a nice walk and a guide to explain what I was seeing. And it did just that and the classic Silurian/Ordovician unconformity you can see was just that. Classic!
West Dorset is rightly famous for its fossils, but few people visit its wonderful, fossiliferous cliffs to look at them as landforms, rather than as an endless source of ammonites and belemnites. This guide does just that and, covers a series of itineraries in the context of landform type.
This is an ambitious little field guide, which aims to allow amateurs to identify basic rocks and rock formations, for the first time, in a systematic way., as it says: “… using only careful observation, a magnifying glass, a pocket knife – and a bit of patience”.
Shropshire is one of my favourite areas for both geology and fossil collecting. The Silurian of this beautiful area is fascinating and, if you can get permission to get into one of the commercial quarries (and you will need permission), then the results will be remarkable.
This is one of GA’s little guides to a very specific area. This one is West Cornwall, a holiday destination that I recently visited during which I spent some time looking at the geology, along with the gardens and archaeological sites.
This GA guide is intended as a major guidebook to the exposures of highly significant Precambrian, Carboniferous and Permo-Triassic sediments, through to Jurassic rocks of the East Midlands. Personally, it is an area I only partly know (I know Edale in the Peak District quite well) and, for that reason, is an interesting set of locations for me.
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 like fossils, but it is always nice to have a brief but informative guide to the actual science behind one’s finds. And this Dunedin guide certainly fits the bill for amateurs and undergraduates alike.
I love the Scottish Highlands and I am proud to say that I have climbed many of the mountains covered in the glossy hardback. But, as I say in the other book review on this page, it is more than a picture book. It contains some excellent and fascinating science explaining their outstanding beauty.
This is another lovely guide by the GA to an area that perhaps readers would not associate with good geology. But, of course, that is because of its title, because the areas like Pendle Hill and Derbyshire are wonderful, not just to visit for their geology, but also for their holiday appeal.
The aim of the guide is to help professional and interested amateur geologists to investigate the rocks themselves and to put them in a modern scientific context.
I like local geological guides, which aim to get you out and about, visiting areas you might not have known are worth a daytrip. And this is a good example. I sat down and read it cover to cover, as it is only 90 pages long. And I now really want to visit this bit of Kent coastline. Largely concentrating on the Upper Cretaceous Chalk, this guidebook explains and illustrates what seems to be some marvellous geology that can also be explored during what could be a lovely day out on the beach.
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.