The best books on the glories of global geology

Frederick Lin Sutherland Author Of The Volcanic Earth: Volcanoes and Plate Tectonics : Past, Present & Future
By Frederick Lin Sutherland

The Books I Picked & Why

Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World

By Marcia Bjornerud

Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World

Why this book?

This remarkable book unfolds the story of Earth’s passage through time, from inception to its present state. The author, a geologist, illuminates the long shaping of the Earth’s natural systems with expertise and clarity. She outlines initial conceptions of Earth’s origin by early historical forefront thinkers, controversies aroused, and then charts the amazing progress gained later in momentous scientific breakthroughs aided by advancing technologies. The understanding of geologic time is stressed as an important concept.

This background, together with the book’s apt black and white illustrations, enables readers to realize Earth’s long-term behavior is a crucial learning curve for humanity. Adoption of such a timely understanding by homo sapiens, in use of Earth’s geo-environments, will better inform future actions.


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Restless Earth

By Carolinda E. Hill, John G. Agnone, Bonnie S. Lawrence

Restless Earth

Why this book?

This book is an awareness alarm for readers to comprehend the ubiquitous array of dynamic natural forces that impact the Earth. In local, regional, or global sweeping events, they need study to predict such happenings in advance and to learn from the aftermath for better future protection. The book shows a selection of events from historical to time of writing and provides gripping reading in seeing nature’s wayward effects in action.

A panel of seven expert writers well versed in these events documents and explains the forces unleashed in the visitations. Dramatic ground, aerial and satellite photography and explanatory diagrams give readers graphic grounding in the vagaries of storms, fires, floods, tsunamis, erosion, landslips, avalanches, volcanic outbursts, earthquakes, impacts from space matter, and even climate changes. 


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Life. An Unauthorized Biography. A Natural History of the First Four Thousand Million Years of Life on Earth

By Richard Fortey

Life. An Unauthorized Biography. A Natural History of the First Four Thousand Million Years of Life on Earth

Why this book?

In this magisterial view of life’s progress, the author, a paleontologist, guides readers through its expansions and setbacks caused by the Earth’s ever-changing geological environments. This is no sterile account. Published in an excellent format, the writer’s travels and studies, and efforts of others, in uncovering past life are supported by vivid writing and splendid images. The book depicts landscape and submarine scenes of fossil finds, the creatures themselves, their relationships, and amazing reconstructions of past collective life scenes. 

In describing life from its primitive start through its explorative passages to human advent, the book opens up and pieces together the grandest story on Earth. 


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Child of GONDWANA. The geological making of Tasmania

By Keith Corbett

Child of GONDWANA. The geological making of Tasmania

Why this book?

This book dissects Tasmania, an island state of Australia, to reveal hybrid geology, diverse scenery, and exotic inherited origins. Its parental rocks once abutted North America and Antarctica in the Precambrian Super Continents Nuna and Rodinia. They split away and collided with the Paleozoic Super Continent, Gondwana. There they shared mountain building and mineralizing events with Australia. When Gondwana began to split, vast sheets of molten dolerite rock invaded across South Africa and Antarctica to enter Tasmania and buttress its highlands.

A remnant of Gondwana, carved by rivers, seas, and ice and host basaltic lavas, it is called a geological paradise. The author’s masterly explanations of its geology, superb photography of wilderness, highlands, coasts, rocks, and minerals, and clear diagrams, all combine in a mind-opening publication.  


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A Geologist Speculates

By John M. Saul

A Geologist Speculates

Why this book?

Here, a seasoned geologist gathers several themes of his research interests, poses critical questions on apparent anomalies within them, and considers their resolution. He does this by giving free rein to informed lateral thinking on these topics. This produces an unusual book in the annals of geological writing, presenting thought-provoking and rewarding reading.

The thematic chapters are written in a fluent expression of the concepts involved, reinforced through a range of illustrative means. There are superb photographs of gems, minerals, and rocks as specimens and rocky exposures from many sources. Geological diagrams underpin explanations, superimposed maps highlight large-scale geological structures, and even images of paintings, historical scenes, postcards, and stamps reinforce particular points. The closing sections enter the realms of life on Earth, seen as coordinated biological and geological evolution. 


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