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Geoscientist Online

Footsteps through Time: The Rocks and Landscape of Anglesey Explained

eryuAnglesey is a geological treasure island with a great variety of rock-types in terms of their origin, metamorphic state and geological age.   A wealth of phenomena including pillow lavas, blueschists, ultramafic intrusions, melanges, copper mineralisation and spectacular folding has attracted generations of geology students to the island.  In addition, it is the juxtaposition of these contrasting rocks within a small region that has aroused the interests of researchers who seek to explain the present arrangement of units within the context of plate tectonic models.  The special features of Anglesey led in 2006 to its designation as a geopark,  GeoMôn, belonging to the European and Global Geopark Networks.  This book describes 13 Geotrails, geological sites and walks set out for visitors to the Geopark.

Each chapter of the book outlines the geology of rocks of specific stratigraphic age, and deals with the Geotrails exhibited those rocks.  In the field, each Geotrail has a poster board or Geoboard, explaining the salient geological features to seen on the walk.  In the book each Geoboard is reproduced in the appropriate chapter together with explanation of the regional context of the rock outcrops.  The book is richly illustrated with photographs, maps and diagrams.  Some of the photos benefit from the large (A4) format though this may make less convenient in the field.  The book is ideal for the leaders of groups or individual visitors desiring more background information.  There is also a useful introductory section that explains the basics of plate tectonics, a comprehensive glossary of terms and a list of references to relevant publications.  The book should attract a large and broad readership.

This is an excellent book and it is therefore difficult to suggest ways that it could have been still better.  A map of the island showing the locations of the sites would have been useful.  Some of pictures would have benefited from annotation to highlight the key features.  I would like to have seen a cross-section or two to clarify the 3D arrangement of rock units.

The aim of the Geomôn geopark according to the Preface is to promote geotourism and education.  This attractive book with its accessible style of writing and splendid photos of Anglesey’s geological treasures should help achieve that aim.

Reviewed by Richard Lisle

FOOTSTEPS THROUGH TIME: THE ROCKS AND LANDSCAPE OF ANGLESEY EXPLAINED by STEWART CAMPBELL, MARGARET WOOD and BRIAN WINDLEY, 2014.  Published by GeoMôn, Isle of Anglesey County Council, 193pp