As you travel around this green
and pleasant land, have you ever wondered why that hill is smooth and
rounded, that one is stepped, another jagged? Even why there are hills in that
direction and a valley or plane in another? Why are different agricultural practises
being followed as you move from one area to another or why is a village located
where it is? The answer is often GEOLOGY.
This year the group is going back
to basics to look at the whole of geology in a more structured way with
a series of sessions that build from the basic principles to give a picture
of the geological mechanisms that underlie the landscape urban and rural.
GEOLOGY AND LANDSCAPE BOOK LIST
- before we start, I am not
envisaging anyone will want to read all these! The intention is to provide
some ideas to cover all tastes and needs. The books in each section are NOT
in any specific order.
GENERAL NOTES ON SELECTING BOOKS
Be very wary
of books on geology published before 1980. So many changes in thinking have
occurred since the 1960's renders older books rather misleading.
Look for a good
glossary - due to the rather fluid use people make of some geological terms,
a glossary can be most useful.
there is an extensive index.
the country, look for local books on the scenery of the locality and its
underlying geology. Not always too easy to find but invaluable when they
are - especially when they provide walks which tend to identify exposures
of the underlying geology, often difficult to find in an area with which
you are not familiar, especially in non-coastal places.
You may notice
a bit of a theme in that the author Richard Fortey appears quite often.
He was the Head of Palaeontology at the Natural History Museum, before his
retirement, and I find all his books extremely well written in an easy jargon
free style, comprehensive and full of fascinating anecdotes and insights.
"Reading the Rocks: the autobiography of the Earth" (2006)
Marcia Bjornerud - a well written account of the Earth's history, chemistry,
geological processes and the effects life has had on the story. Up-to-date,
witty and very much written for the general reader - any jargon used is
fully explained, in fact it could easily be described as a "jargon
Hidden Landscape" (1993) Richard Fortey - the story of the rocks
that underlie the whole UK. A journey through the country both physically
and back through time.
Story" (1998) Simon Lamb & David Singlton - BBC publication,
it was an excellent television series presented by the biologist Aubrey
Manning. Well written text with fantastic photographs and diagrams.
Geology of Britain" (2000) Peter Toghill - great easy read, excellent
introduction to geology with examples trawled from across the UK - simple
and straight forward. Has a very simple one page glossary
History of the British Isles" (2004) Arlene Hunter & Glynda Easterbrook
- an Open University publication with a slightly more academic approach,
but still very readable. Again very well illustrated. With a good glossary.
LANDSCAPE - a lot of these
are rather old - possibly not so important re landscape. Also, this topic
is not my forte; others in the group are probably better able to advice in
of the English Landscape" (1955) W. G. Hoskins - the classic work
on the subject.
Landscape in England and Wales" (1985) Andrew Goudie & Rita Gardener
- and region by region study of interesting landforms, with an explanation
of the underlying geology. Masses of photographs and clear diagrams.
Guide to Reading the Landscape" (1984) Richard Muir - a great insight
to understanding all the factors that contribute to making a landscape.
Landscape Detective" (1986) Anthony Burton & John May - fascinating
introductory chapter explaining "where to start" with the subject.
The main body of the book consists of twelve walks, through different landscapes
in the UK. One walk is around Skipton, tracing the town's development from
the Medieval, then out through Embsay to the moors.
and Scenery in England and Wales" (1948 revised 1971) A.E. Trueman
- a fascinating study, region by region, of the country. The landscape aspects
of it are fantastic and some of the geology is okay but due to its publication
pre the 60's and some of the geology is out-of-date and misleading to say
the least. Still an extremely worthwhile book.
the key to the past" (2002) Richard Fortey - excellent overview
of the fossilisation process, some of the history of discoveries, the origins
of life and evolution.
an unauthorised biography" (1997) Richard Fortey - extremely interesting
review of the entire subject.
Story of Fossils: in search of vanished worlds" (1987) Yvette Gayrard-Vale
- a short, extremely well illustrated history of palaeontology - from the
myths and legends stage, through the early scientific discoveries to modern
studies and methods today.
- the story of life" (1997) Sue Ridby - short but never the less
great introduction with wonderful, simple illustrations. Published by British
Geological Survey "Earthwise" series - see below.
- a very short introduction" (2005) Keith Thomson - one of a great
series by Oxford University Press. An excellent overview of the topic in
a short, well written book that covers all the essentials from the development
of the study of fossils from the Greeks on, a detailed account of fossilisation
processes - plus it covers much of the current thinking in palaeontology
Yorkshire Dales Landscape and Geology" (2007) Tony Waltham - comprehensive
overview of the subject, mainly the geology, with forty some pages at the
end about man's use of and influence on the area. Very well illustrated
with some great diagrams, many of which I've plagiarised for my talks!
Rock - a journey through time (1996) Richard Bell - very short but never
the less great introduction with wonderful, simple illustrations. There
are a number of other excellent books from the British Geological Survey,
both in this "Earthwise" series plus more technical publications
and their geological maps - all available from their on-line shop http://shop.bgs.ac.uk/Bookshop/category.cfm?CAT_ID=1A
of the Three Peaks" (1981) David Crutchley - a brief but detailed
introduction, with suggested walks to view the features. Well illustrated.
Landscape and History" (2008) David Johnson - good overview of
the geology, landform processes, archaeology and land use of the area.
Geology (2009) Paul Ensom - another well written and illustrated account
of the subject covering the whole county, most of the earlier suggestions
only cover The Dales.
Rocks and Landscape: a field guide" (1994 may be a later version) edited
by Colin Scrutton - published by the Yorkshire Geological Society. Twenty-one
excursions/walks covering the whole county with an excellent introduction
telling the geological story of the area.
" Two other
books, in the same format, take the story a little further a field. "Northumbrian
Rocks and Landscape" (1995) again edited by Colin Scrutton Yorkshire
Geological Society and "Lakeland Rocks and Landscape" (1992)
Mervyn Dodd et al. Cumberland Geological Society.
Science" (2001) Andrew McLeish - an A level text, very easy style
with good, clear, black and white illustrations. Excellent general reference
work on all aspects of geology and palaeontology. Not for reading cover-to-cover
much more for "dipping into" via the comprehensive index.
" A dictionary
of Geology or Earth Science is always a good investment. I use the "The
Penguin Dictionary of Geology" (1972) D. G. A. Whitten with J. R. V.
Brooks - my copy is hopelessly out-of-date, there will have been a number
of updates since - obviously more up-to-date but the format and number of
illustrations has not improved the work. The Oxford Earth Science dictionary
looks excellent too - possibly it is rather better than the Penguin one
now and covering a wider range of subjects - meteorology, oceanography and
the planetary sciences.
to Rocks and Fossils are very usefully. I use the "Hamlyn Guide
to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils" (1993) W. R. Hamilton et al. -
before each of the three sections there is a good, if very short, introduction
to the topic. There are many other such works available and they are a great
help with identification of finds. I think this one is a good example of
POSSIBLE ADDITIONS - in
no particular order
Time - exploring the deep past from Victorian England to the Grand Canyon"
(2005) Douglas Paler - two parts in one volume - a journey from London
to Snowdonia in the footsteps of William Smith and following Major Powell's
boat trip through the Grand Canyon. Throughout it introduces all the important
figures and events in the development of geology. A longish read but there
is lots information in this one book.
Tectonics: An Insider's History of the Modern Theory of the Earth"
(2003) Naomi Oreskes - a great detailed overview of this vital topic.
Not a short read but I feel it is worth the effort.
- ten billion years in the life of our planet" (2007) Ted Nield
- the hypothesis of this is the Earth has a propensity for all the land
to coalesce and form Supercontinents in a 500 million year cycle.
Man Who Found Time: James Hutton and the Discovery of the Earth's Antiquity"
(2004) Jack Repcheck - a biography of one of the great geologists of
the past, an Edinburgh man (1726-1797) - often referred to as "The
Father of Geology" - he was one of the first to really define geological
processes and identify the vast time scales involved.
Dinosaur Hunters" (2000) Deborah Cadbury - as the title suggests,
the story of the development of palaeontology in the Victorian period through
the rather manic search and great rivalries of these dinosaurs hunters.
Map that Changed the World" (2001) Simon Winchester - another biography
of one of the greats - William Smith (1769-1839) a canal and mines surveyor
who both created the first geological map of the UK and showed how fossils
could be used to build a stratigraphy and apply relative dates to the rocks
at different locations.
Dating Game: One Man's Search for the Age of the Earth" (2000) by Cherry
Lewis - an interesting biography of Arthur Holmes, he was very much
involved in Plate tectonics, before it become the excepted norm but even
more importantly he improved the isotope dating of rocks to give use a truer
picture of geological time - Absolute Dating, before this only the relative
ages were understood.