Monday, August 3, 2015

Geology Underfoot

I have been a bit slow to acquire David Tucker's Geology Underfoot. And hence a bit slow to say anything about it. DT has assembled a series of geology excursions for western Washington with a level of detail and accuracy that is impressive. 

The cover of the book is a spectacular image of what a future Mount Rainier eruption may look like. The image warps around the book to the back. Orting, Sumner, Puyallup, Fife and the Tacoma waterfront will have some trouble with Rainier. 

IDT has to do what every geology guide book does - that is provide an introduction to geology and the big picture geology of the area with plate tectonics and what comes after. I always enjoy reading these sections, not to really learn any geology but to see how different geologists tackle the subject with a limited amount of pages. DT did the task about as well as any I have seen with some very good graphics and without fear even throwing in the complication of Baja BC for hard core tectonic folks. This section was not overly dumbed down.

The book provides 22 geology excursions with detail on how to get there and what to see. A good diverse selection to get a good taste of the diverse geologic features in western Washington. I went right to some of the places I have been to.

I believe DT provides the best write up I have seen on the Mima Mounds - site and subject that drives geologists crazy. DT runs through all the various theories and problems with all of the theories and includes even the latest ideas and observations. If you have any intent of visiting the Mima Mounds or trying to solve the mounds, you would be well advised to take a careful read of this trip.

The Bridge of the Gods, where a massive landslide blocked the Columbia River was well researched and fully up to date. Cheryl Staryed did not provide much in Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. But DT will fill you in on the compelling story of this remarkable location with a very good historic perspective.

A good geology book to western Washington has been long overdue. DT provides it. There is a enough detail and explanation in each excursion to ensure that anyone that takes the trip with book in hand will learn something. That includes geologists and non geologists alike. And for geologists dragging friends along on excursions a great way to impress your friends.    


Hollis said...

Great to hear. The Geology Underfoot series is what got me going on geo-tripping years ago. The idea of focusing on destinations seemed so brilliant! ... still is

Anonymous said...

Apologies for slow comment on an old posting, but yesterday I finally got up the gumption to brave the ferry and the border-lineups to get down to a bookstore in Fairhaven and load up on $190-worth of books on Western Washington (including San Juans) geology.

Some (like DT's book, and Ned Brown's work on the San Juans) were very tightly-edited and a clear pleasure to read. There were a couple of others, whose authors I shall be graceful and not name, whose levels of disorganisation verged on 'word salad'. The worst was an undated (ca. 2015, to judge by its reference-list) work which clearly had gone directly from manuscript to print-on-demand. Unreadable maps and meandering text which I would have expected from my cohort of disengaged undergraduate non-geology-major students during my years of TAing first-year service courses.

I discussed this book with a colleague, whose pithy response was "we expect the Facebook generation to not understand why paragraphs exist, but not from someone who's spent a career as a scientist.

Anyway, thanks for recommending books of interest. There's more to our scientific lives than searching for relevant technical papers via an indexing-service.