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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
I like the GA guides. They are excellent resources for amateurs and professional geologists alike and I frequently browse mine, planning geological trips I will probably never take, because I live in geological unexciting London.
John L Morton certainly came to popular geological publishing by an interesting and circuitous route. Trained as a pilot, he flew Herons, Viscounts, Comets, Boeing 707s and Lockheed TriStars for British European Airways and subsequently published a book on aspects of flying for an airline.
Over a period of 20 years, Ian Tyler has written a series of books on the metalliferous mining industry of the English Lake District and this has clearly been a significant labour of love for him.
There are several passions in my life – geology and geomorphology being a couple and hillwalking being another. And it doesn’t take much to see that that these go together rather well.
Roderick Impey Murchison must have been a remarkable man. He was one of the first people to rigorously use the principles of stratigraphy discovered by William Smith, which allowed him to erect the Silurian system and to name about 123myrs of geological time.
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.
For many years, the Geologists’ Association has published some of the best geological guides to the UK (and a few other places). This new one, the 67th in the series, covers the Dalradian of Scotland.
The island of Cyprus is a truly classic area of geology in Europe. Perhaps nowhere else on Earth does so small an area provide such an excellent illustration of the dynamics of Earth processes through abundant exposures of spectacular and diverse geology.
The Scottish Borders region is famed for its frontier history and attendant myths and ballads. This book concerns its more ancient geological history that is revealed by its rocks. These indicate that the area was once on the edge of a huge ocean.
The Caithness area of Scotland is important for its geology, but is also well known for its palaeontology. The area even once had its own ‘gold rush’ and you can still try your luck at panning there today at Kildonan.
For a long time Watchet has been known to be a superb location for those interested in both fossils and geology but surprisingly, the location has had little in the way of media attention. However, within the last couple of years, this area has begun to attract a lot of interest and this book will further increase its growing popularity.
This small yet informative booklet takes you on a four mile walk to 13 sites and through 15 million years of Earths history. The Mortimer Forest Trail is a geology trail in Shropshire that is famous for its outstanding fossils and varied geology. The trail mostly examines Silurian formations such as the Wenlock and Ludlow series.
The Pentland Hills in Scotland yield a large number of Silurian marine fossils. Although these fossils are only found within a small area of the Pentland Hills, the formations are extremely rich in fossils. The majority of these are preserved as moulds.