Book review: Sedimentary Structures (4th Edition), by John Collinson and Nigel Mountney

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Jon Trevelyan (UK)

Dunedin publishes an interesting range of books on geological subjects. For example, I have reviewed guide to Introducing Stratigraphy, which is very much a book for amateurs and undergraduates alike. The scope of ‘Sedimentary Structures’ overlaps in many ways with this other guide, but this textbook is definitely written for professional earth scientists (but also students and non-specialists from other subject areas, where an understanding of the origin and forms of structures in sediments and sedimentary rocks would be invaluable).

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.

The intention of the revised textbook is to set out a clear methodology and philosophy for understanding present-day sediments and sedimentary rocks as the product of dynamic processes. However, it remains primarily a text that provides a basis for understanding the morphologies and processes of formation of sedimentary structures, both common and more obscure.

This edition introduces erosional, depositional and post-depositional sedimentary processes in an easily accessible way. That is, it shows how sedimentary structures can be interpreted across a wide range of scales, in terms of those processes. In particular, it covers: bedding, the basic properties of fluids, flows and sediment, erosional structures, depositional structures in muds, mudstones and shales and of sands and sandstones, gravels, conglomerates and breccias, and of chemical and biological origin. It also covers structures due to deformation and disturbance, and assemblages of structures and environmental interpretation. Appendices cover subjects such as sampling, trace fossils and sedimentary logging.

John Collinson was Professor of Sedimentology at the University of Bergen and, until recently, ran his own geological consultancy. Nigel Mountney is Professor of Sedimentology at the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, where he is the Director of the Fluvial and Eolian Research Group. He is also a former Chief Editor of the leading academic journal, ‘Sedimentology’.

Sedimentary Structures (4th Edition) by John Collinson and Nigel Mountney, Dunedin, Edinburgh and London (2019). 340 pages, softback (and also available as an eBook), ISBN: 978-178046-062-8

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