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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is always exciting when Palass publishes a new field guide to fossils. This one, number 12 in the series, is likely to be the constant companion for anyone, who (like me) loves the Gault Clay.
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.
I am a local geology enthusiast and have been leading fossil hunts at Bracklesham for over 30 years. I recently decided that it was time to write a new guide (published April 2009) aimed at visitors who, more often than not, will be faced with a uniform blanket of beach sand and need some idea of where to start.
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.
The fossil bearing rocks of the British Isles contain the remains of life from the last 2,900myrs and the UK is seen as the cradle of modern geology. With this is mind, palaeontologist Peter Doyle offers a comprehensive guide to UK fossils.
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.
Minerals of Britain and Ireland is a comprehensive account of the minerals found in Britain, Ireland and the surrounding islands. At over 600 pages and illustrated throughout by over 550 images (mostly in colour), the book provides exhaustive coverage of the remarkably wide range of minerals found in this part of the world.
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.
Fossil Hunting along the Jurassic Coast is presented by Dr Colin Dawes, a well-known, fossil hunting guide in the world-famous palaeontological site of Lyme Regis. The film is split into sections covering the fossilisation process, fossil hunting hotspots and safety information. It also has aerial views of the fossil hunting sites featured in the DVD.
Any serious collector of fossils will certainly have heard of the famous Green River, Morrison and Hell Creek formations. These, however, are not commonly detailed in guides that can easily be obtained in the UK.
This latest publication from the British Geological Survey follows the success of its earlier publication, ‘Exploring the Landscape of Assynt’. It consists of a special pack containing both an explanatory booklet and a new 1 : 25,000 scale geological map of the Charnwood Forest and Mountsorrel area.