There are a lot of guide books to the Jurassic Coast Work Heritage Site. This one is intended to provide a useful introduction to the general geology of the coastline, dealing with its formation, fossils and plate tectonics (among many other things), but specifically in the context of walks – for both afternoon rambles and long distance hikes for the more committed.
I love geomorphology. I suspect many people are discouraged by its scientific name, but all it means is the study of the earth’s landforms and the processes, which create the landscapes we see today. That is, why this coastline looks different from that, why that mountain is a funny share, why Africa seems to fit into South America like a jigsaw, and so on.
I wouldn’t say I know Paul Taylor, but I did once go on a fieldtrip with him, organised by the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London, more years ago than I care to remember. It was to the Coralline Crag of Suffolk, which was chock full of bryozoans – Paul’s favourite niche fossil. And very interesting it was too – as was Paul. Therefore, I am not surprised how fascinating this book turns out to be.
I have been fortunate enough to review for this magazine a large number of books from the Dunedin series of guides introducing aspects of the different sciences, especially the earth sciences. And Introducing Mineralogy continues the high standard set by its predecessors. It is slightly larger than some of the other guides in the series, but is still beautifully illustrated, nicely written and very informative.
I remember buying the first edition of Ken Brook’s fascinating little guide on Hastings a long time ago, and bumbling off to Hastings in the hope of finding Lower Cretaceous dinosaurs and tree ferns. Sadly, I was disappointed, as the area is not as productive as, say, the Dorset or North Yorkshire coastlines. Having said that, I have been back a few times armed with that first edition and have enjoyed the visits every time.
It won’t come as any surprise to a reader of this magazine, but might to the vast majority of the UK population (and probably anyone reading this elsewhere), but this country is a great place to find dinosaurs.
A great number of geology books have been published in recent years about Scottish geology and I have had the privilege of reviewing a number of them for this magazine.
Growing up, I collected and purchased trilobite fossils for my own personal collection, to learn about and understand prehistoric life. They were to me, and still are, a fascinating group of fossils to examine and wonder about how the myriad of different forms evolved.
Iceland seems to set the hearts of certain geologists racing and, reading this field guide, it is abundantly clear why. Set out in this concise and authoritative book is the evidence of how this strange piece of rock – astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge – is a “natural laboratory”, where the earth sciences can be watched in dramatic real-time.
Patagonia has not always been the cold, arid and dry place it is today. About 17mya – because the Andes were much lower allowing humid winds from the west to reach the area – it consisted of substantial forests and grasslands. It was also inhabited by strange and wonderful animals, many of which are now extinct, such as glyptodonts, huge snakes and the giant, tapir-like astrapotheres.
As the author says, “The abundance and diversity of Foraminifera … make them uniquely useful in studies of modern marine environments and the ancient rock record”. And this book represents an interesting, enjoyable and informative ‘one-stop-shop’ treatment of precisely that subject.
As a former ‘Munro bagger’ and now keen geologist, this book combines two of my favourite pastimes. While the body is not quite so willing as before, the ability to read about the geology of some of my favourite Scottish walks is an absolute pleasure – bringing back pleasant memories with its clear descriptions, and beautiful photographs and diagrams.
This fascinating book looks at the professional interaction over more than 30 years between a respected husband and wife team of US palaeontologists working for most of their professional lives in Australia (Prof Pat Vickers-Rich and Tom Rich) and a freelance artist (Peter Trusler), as he tries to interpret their work and bring to life ancient organisms and environments.
Vesuvius is a European geological icon par excellence. There are many books about this wonderful volcano and most people will know of its connection with the destruction of Pompeii. However, this book is as much about its social history, as it is about geology.
I have had the pleasure of reviewing a large number of the “Introducing” guides from Dunedin Academic press, and I am pleased to say that here are another couple of equally good ones.
These three guides by Robert Westwood are in the same simple format. All are local geological guides to specific areas of the UK and all are illustrated by lovely full colour photographs. They all contain simple, introductory geological introductions for the uninitiated, and then more detailed expositions of what makes the regions so special.
This is the fourth book in a series published by Dunedin that I have been lucky enough to review – the others being on palaeontology, geology and volcanology. And this is as good as the others. However, it is not an easy book to read.
In recent years, the Jurassic Coast Trust really has produced some great books and I have had the privilege of reviewing quite a number of them in this magazine. These two companion books are intended as walking guides to the World Heritage Site.
This is a nice little guide by one of our regular contributors. Rosalind specialises in the geology of Scotland and is particularly interested in the island of Mull. (She has written several articles for us concerning different aspects of this lovely Scottish island.)
Recently, in the autumn of 2011, a beautiful and richly illustrated book was published by a group of sabre-tooth experts. This new book describes, in detail, the osteology of Xenosmilus and all skeletal elements are depicted in great detail.
Like the book, Applications of Palaeontology: Techniques and Case Studies, which I reviewed in the last issue of this magazine, this book is not for the casual fossil collector. Rather it is for the student, academic, oil industry professional or the more dedicated amateur collector.
I suspect that most people who read this magazine do so because of their amateur love of fossils and geology. They are interested in geology and palaeontology on a curious rather than academic or professional level.
Whether you are an amateur collector, geology student or professional geologist, the Dorset coast will always hold a special place in most geologists’ hearts. The coastline, which forms part of the ‘Jurassic Coast’ World Heritage Site, has been the stamping ground for the historical great and the good, through to the holidaymakers of today collecting fossils for fun.
Normally, I wouldn’t be interested in semi-precious stones and other pretty things. Personally, I prefer grubbing around in the dirt, perhaps for those far more beautiful, elusive and perfectly formed Cretaceous terebratulids or Silurian trilobites. However, some semi-precious stones have the advantage of also providing a tangible link to the ancient history of life.
It appears that I was naive to assume the Tunguska explosion of 1908 had been adequately explained. It was a meteorite or, more probably, a comet that exploded above a remote area of Siberia. Wrong! This fascinating book shows that we still await an adequate scientific explanation and the jury is still out on what precisely the object was.
Nowadays, people don’t do geology – they do ‘earth sciences’ – and this book is very much in that mould. That’s not to say this is a problem.
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 and there is also plenty of information for the curious visitor who wants to learn more about the earth science of the area.
Deposits magazine has covered the science and appeal of agate in some detail over the last few years. Indeed, this issue has another in Wayne Sukow’s excellent series on the science of Lake Superior agate formation.
Back in 1994, Scottish Natural Heritage, together with the BGS, published a guidebook entitled Cairngorms: a landscape fashioned by geology. With the publication of Argyll and the Islands a landscape fashioned by geology, they have now extended this excellent series to 20 such guides.
Here at Deposits, we like our amber and this certainly isn’t the first book on the subject I have reviewed. In fact, over the years, we have published many articles on the fossilised sap and its inclusions, and have just finished publishing a short, two-article series by the authors of this excellent little publication.