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Geoscientist Online

Four Billion Years and Counting: Canada's Geological Heritage

kljhBefore agreeing to review this book I did a quick internet search just to see if it has a mention, what price it might be and frankly if it was worth reviewing. What I found there was a revelation, go see for yourself1!

On another site2 one of the authors explained the origin of the book:

“One day last summer, a 40-ish well-educated woman visited our house. She makes a living in gastronomy, is a good visual artist and an avid ocean sailor. She asked me about my professional background and I told her that I am an earth scientist. She looked puzzled and said: “and what do you do with that, other than teach?”

I was dumbstruck …., then noticed her nice shiny and stylish watch and said “well, let’s begin with your watch, where do you think its component materials came from?” …

Thus began what can be described as a tour de force [the book comes in two languages] of geological outreach. Although it is written from a Canadian perspective, it has a wide, immediate and absorbing interest for geologists of all levels from novice up. The standard of the material is superlative with high quality colour photographs, illustrations and artistic recreations added to a crystal clear language. It describes the technicalities of our subject in a way which focusses effortlessly upon the core message, geology matters. It is a masterpiece of good communication.

There are 20 chapters in three parts, covering foundations [of the science], the Evolution of Canada [but not just Canada] and Wealth and Health [the way that geology is used]. Each chapter is quite short and to the point and written by a phalanx of skilful authors. The whole thing has been funded by five major supporters and the chapters by 20 or so backers, indeed a very impressive collaborative effort.  It is a good read at an extremely reasonable price.

On the other hand, will the ‘well educated woman’ buy it, let alone read it?  Perhaps it’s up to you to recommend it to those who might be in need, and then you can borrow it back. I’m just a little surprised that Air Canada did not part-fund the book because once you have this in your hands then  you may well be on your way to Banff quite soon.

  1. accessed May 2015
  2. accessed May 2015

Four Billion Years and Counting - Canada’s Geological Heritage - Eds: Fensome R, Williams G, Achab A, Clague J, Corrigan D  Monger J, Nowlan GNimbus 2014-  Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences Weight 1.7Kg  24 by 30 cm

Reviewed by Arthur Tingley  May 2015