Book review: Introducing Geology – A Guide to the World of Rocks, by Graham Park

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Jon Trevelyan (UK)

There are a lot of ‘introduction to geology’ books being published these days and, just for a moment, one might wonder why. However, what it clearly shows is that there must be a healthy market for these and this can only be good news for geology as a popular science. This second edition (the first edition was published in 2006 and was sufficiently popular to be reprinted twice) is actually not at all bad and is undoubtedly a great addition to list of such works.

For any basic level geology book to succeed, it needs to be well written and include great pictures and diagrams – and this book does not disappoint. Graham Park is a professional geologist from Scotland and the photographs do suggest a slight bias towards his native land. However, who can blame him, as there is great, photogenic geology up there and, arguably, it was a Scotsman who started the modern science?

This little guide (it is only 134, A5 pages long) covers everything you would expect from a basic level geology book, including the rock cycle, plate tectonics, fossils and industrial uses for geology. It also includes a great glossary, which these days is essential given that geology seems to have spawned a different language only distantly related to English. Notwithstanding this unfortunate fact, the guide is written in clear, understandable English, but never underestimates the reader’s geological abilities or intelligence.

Given the above, it will be interesting to see what the two companion books, Introducing Palaeontology – A Guide to Ancient life and Introducing Volcanology – A Guide to Hot Rocks by different authors (but both published by Dunedin) will be like. If this gook is anything to go by, I suspect they will be very good indeed. I look forward to owning all three.

Introducing Geology: A Guide to the World of Rocks, by Graham Park, Dunedin Academic press Ltd, Edinburgh (2010), 134 pages (paperback), ISBN: 978-1906716219

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