File Size: 4287 KB
Print Length: 716 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (June 15, 2000)
Publication Date: June 15, 2000
I began reading McPhee's geology-oriented publications years back somewhat in self-defense --- I have two kids who will be professional geologists. But most of us have found that McPhee's writing warrants more than only a geologist's attention. His clarity, rhythm, and humor are captivating. Annals... should be required reading for geologists and anyone thinking about the history of research. I also think his account of Wyoming and the Love family should be required reading for any student of writing and composition., Excellent book by an excellent writer., Geology as a page turner! The copy of this publication is now so dog eared it looks like a dust brush. I don't know how to praise the writing which book enough. It will not only make your journeys more enjoyable
* By, say, remembering how Pt. Reyes is actually a chunk of the Serranía mountains that moved to the north from the area right about where you go over that huge complete on I5 heading away of the main pit going towards LA.
But this guide will give you insights into where and how things formed
* For example oil is generally former wetlands, often lake deltas leading to the ocean that collected all the organics, especially algae and trapped them in the stagnant ponds near the delta outlets over a few million years. Sink them in earth, make *just right* < otherwise you get coal or worse> and the oil migrates to the sand that once shaped the berms at the river ocean outlets.
The book will give you a feel for the vast scope of time
* For instance , "lakes" don't really exist except as fleeting dynamic piffles, like eddies in a river. Lakes fill out fast and so only are present right after glaciers retreat or where earth movements are pulling things aside < sag ponds etc>. Rivers themselves come and go like summer rain showers. But they often act as concentrators of the metals we seek.
Simultaneously you get a view of science in action
* This chronicles the slow increase of plate tectonics and shows how science does work as contradiction, new data and ideas slowly bump old paradigms even as your data gathered for those old paradigms becomes fodder for the new... and aren't themselves always completely wrong, at least locally.
I could just on. Just about all this and more is written in a publication that is more of a page turner than most novels I read. A simply stunning job for a normally froid subject.
It does have some downside.
No pictures and almost no routes (look right before the index to see what maps there are and mark them with publication tags -- helps a lot). McPhee is a great writer, but not being able to actually see make some of this stuff is very disappointing and often grating. I would recommend reading with Google earth booted up and handy -- I wish someone would put together a picture and/or map and or Google geo-location concordance for this book.
Even so -- this is one of those books that becomes a treasured buddy over time., This is a book I read again every few years. The writing is beautiful and compelling. Not only do you read about the geology of the world and more specifically of America, but the stories of the geologists who study it give the usual personal touch that McPhee so excels at. Constantly recommend it highly enough., A very good read in my viewpoint.
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