Friday, September 5, 2008

Geology Field Guides

Have you ever found yourself visiting the sand dunes in the Gobi desert or Machu Picchu in the Andes mountains, or even just driving I-5 in San Diego county or up the Pacific Coast Highway, and wondering about the origin and composition of the mountains, hills, canyons or arroyos?

I have.

I've found two books that are small enough to carry traveling and detailed enough to answer most geology questions on the road: The Field Guide to Geology(by David Lambert) and A Field Manual for the Amateur Geologist(by Alan M Cvancara).

If you haven't studied Geology, The Field Guide to Geology is the one for you. It is profusely illustrated and starting from the basics covers a wide range of topics, including a great chapter (The Last 540 Million Years) on plate tectonics and geologic history. For world travelers, it also includes global geological highlights from Algeria to Zimbabwe. This could be an international checklist for the serious geological tourist.

However, if you have studied Geology, A Field Guide for the Amateur Geologist might be more to your liking. With fewer pictures and less introductory material, this book is packed with a detailed section on the identification of landforms (over 100 page ) and another on the identification of rocks (almost 100 pages). This is the book to settle arguments and answer the hard questions.

Both books are available as small-format paperbacks for convenient packing and will fit nicely in your knapsack and day pack.

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