Book review: Introducing Sedimentology, by Stuart Jones

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Jon Trevelyan (UK)

Dunedin Academic Press has once again added a title to its series of introductions to scientific subjects. As you will probably be aware, in the past, I have positively reviewed a large number of them for this magazine. 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, eg in connection with the search for and the exploitation of coal, oil and gas).

The guide covers all the basic aspects of the subject, including a short discussion about what sedimentology is, how sediments change to form sedimentary rock, sedimentary structures, sedimentary environments, fossils and sediments, and the economic exploitation of sedimentary rocks. The chapter on sedimentary environment also includes a short discussion about extraterrestrial sedimentary environments (notable, on Mars, Venus and Titan).

And, as with all the Dunedin guides, it contains full colour photographs and explanatory diagrams. It is written in a simple style for students, amateur enthusiasts and geological professionals alike, to provide a concise introduction to and summary of the subject. You won’t find a detailed analysis of any of the subjects it covers, but this is not the guide’s intention. It merely brings together the range issues covered by the science. However, it does provide a useful and relevant glossary to define the more technical terms used in the book.

Stuart Jones is a senior lecturer at the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University, where he has taught sedimentology for many years at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and also to postgraduate students. He has also led many field trips and training courses for industry.

The guide didn’t me take very long to finish (it is only 86 pages long), but I read it with great interest and found it to be a perfect introduction to the subject. While I have some experience of sedimentology from a practical and self-taught point of view, it is amazing how a concise guide brings together all disparate parts of one’s knowledge. I would, therefore, recommend it to anybody other than the absolute expert, as a perfect little guide to this fascinating subject.

Introducing Sedimentology, by Stuart Jones, Dunedin Academic Press Ltd, Edinburgh (2015), 86 pages (paperback), ISBN: 978-1780460178

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