The long awaited PalAss guide to Wealden fossil flora and fauna has finally arrived and what a magnificent tome it is. At 769 pages and 35 chapters, it is by far the most ambitious and complete of their guides, covering various vertebrate groups, together with invertebrates, plants and stratigraphical descriptions of what can be found on the coast and in the quarries of southern England and the Isle of Wight.
I have stood several times in front of an (apparently) plain white, chalk cliff-face along with others, while Prof Mortimore discussed the implications of what we were seeing. And, every time, I left not just thinking but knowing this was the most fascinating piece of geology I had ever seen.
The Jurassic Coast Trust has produced a truly fascinating little picture book illustrating the geology of this World Heritage Site.
It has the shape, form and feel of a holiday souvenir book – the sort you buy in tourist information shops to commemorate your visit with pictures of the sites you didn’t have time to see – and there is also plenty of information for the curious visitor who wants to learn more about the earth science of the area.
This is a third, revised edition of a very successful, introductory-level geology guide, in which the author has taken the opportunity to revise and update the text, and to substitute improved illustrations for some of the old ones.
There are many good guides the geology of the Lake District and this is no exception. However, this is first and foremost an illustrated guide to the region’s rocks and an introduction to the common rock types to be found, largely through the use of colour photographs.
This is the first of a two-part series of monographs on spiders (and arachnids more generally) involving Dr David Penney and published by Siri Scientific Press. This one is written with Dr Paul Selden, who has more than 30 years of researching, and teaching about, fossil arachnids.
This is the second of a two-part series of monographs on spiders (and arachnids more generally) involving Dr David Penney – the other is reviewed next to this. This one is written with Jason Dunlop, who has described numerous new fossil species in a variety of arachnid groups, from scorpions to harvestmen, to mites and even some extinct groups.
This is another of Dr David Penney’s (founder and owner of the excellent Siri Scientific Press, whose books I have frequently reviewed in this magazine) books on fossil spiders and insects.
This is another excellent guide produced by Dunedin Academic press, to go along with the other two reviewed on this page. This one provides, at an introductory level, a succinct and readable guide to metamorphism.
Sea level change is something that probably everyone who does their best to keep up to date about climate change, thinks they know about and on which they will have an opinion.
Jon Trevelyan (UK) 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). As he says in his article Great Plains geology: A personal journey, they rarely correspond to … Read More
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.
This is a new edition of the classic little guide on Blue John by Trevor Ford, who has now sadly passed away. The guide provides a comprehensive overview of the geology and mineralogy of Blue John fluorite from Derbyshire and also provides a description of its mining in the past and today, and its use in the production of ornaments and jewellery.
Just a couple of days before the Covid-19 lockdown, I was with friends at Tidmoor Point collecting wonderful pyrite ammonites from the Oxford Clay with this excellent guide to the South Dorset Coast.
This is a very ambitious work. The authors discuss the geology of Britain as a “geological legacy”, that is, they believe it is “an inheritance bequeathed to 11 millennia or so of its post-glacial inhabitants”.
I have written many admiring reviews of Dunedin’s books, and this is another one. OK – I like fossils, but it is always nice to have a brief but informative guide to the actual science behind one’s finds.
Andy Gale’s update of his guide to the Isle of Wight (this is the sixth edition) is an important change to an already excellent geological guide. The Geologists’ Association has been updating several of its guides – using a modern format, and providing better colour pictures and diagrams – and this is another great example.
As this book explains, ground conditions for building depend on the history of all these aspects in connection with both the actual building site and the surrounding area. In fact, the book goes into some detail, using colour photographs and block geomodels, to bring the subject to life in what is, I suspect, a somewhat fresh way.
Dr David Penney, founder and owner of the excellent Siri Scientific Press (whose books I have frequently reviewed in this magazine), has writen about Miocene spider inclusions in amber from deposits of the Dominican Republic.
I reviewed some excellent previous guides in this series (Classic Geology in Europe 3: Iceland in Issue 39 and Classic Geology in Europe 12: Almeria in Issue 48), but this one is closer to home and covers an area that I have fond memories of from my Munro-bagging days.
I love the Highlands of Scotland 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.
‘Sedimentary Structures’ 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 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.
So, PalAss has published another of its excellent field guides, this time to the fossils from the Lias of the Yorkshire coast. Readers of this magazine will know that I have a soft spot for these guides.
Another issue of Deposits and another excellent addition to the “Introducing Earth and Environmental Sciences” series by Dunedin, many of which I have favourably reviewed in this magazine.
The is a second edition of Prof John Cope’s excellent geological guide to the Dorset coast for the Geologists’ Association (GA). It is slightly shorter than the first edition, with some minor corrections and some of the figures revised, together with new photographs.
Jon Trevelyan (UK) This is the second Geologists’ Association (GA) guide by Professor John Cope to be published in the last two years. The first was the second edition of his excellent Dorset guide, which was reviewed in the last issue of Deposits. And, on the grounds that “if it … Read More
Ever since Charles Darwin pointed out the problem, evolutionary biologists have been worried by the incompleteness of the fossil record. Fortunately, discoveries of formations containing exceptionally preserved fossils (conservation Lagerstätten) have provided fascinating and important information on the history life’s diversity.
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.
There are several good books on the fossils of the Gault Clay and, by extension, Folkestone. However, this little guide has an advantage over the others that I have looked at.