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Geoscientist Online

Palaeozoic climate cycles

G&SHere is an exposition of techniques which have been used by academics around the globe, to explore cyclic sedimentary sequences.  As is customary for a Special Publication, the papers are both detailed reviews and summaries of primary research, and as such they are expertly written (which is to say, written by experts), illustrated in colour, with some useful photographs.  So, if  you are  a sedimentologist with an interest in the variety of methods that might be used to a draw out cyclic inferences, then this volume is surely for you.

The descriptions contained within have been chosen to illustrate the breadth of methods available, spanning as wide an area as possible - South China, British Columbia, Central Europe, South America and Australia. Covering a variety of environments, all of  which resulted from Late Palaeozoic tectonic activity associated with the coalescence of Pangaea, with the superimposed influences of orbital changes.

Taken as a whole, the work feels like an exercise to document a range of case studies, and aimed exclusively for the aforementioned students in this area of study, the purpose of the exercise being - to demonstrate how workers from different disciplines can examine  how Earth systems have left a record of various cycles from very different origins; a worthy objective, and for the most part successful.

However from the point of view of a non-specialist, I found it a turgid read. The content could be lucid, even exciting - why not ?  But for me the academic text was too densely written, the whole did not draw towards any particular rounded set of conclusions - and paid little heed to the needs of a more general reader.  But then perhaps it was not more guilty in this than many another compilation of research papers aimed less at the average geiologically literate reader than at specialists. I felt this was a missed opportunity, as the central messages are surely interesting to a much wider group.

The time is certainly right for a good general book showing how cyclic sedimentology can be discerned from the evidence available.  This volume does not fill that niche for a wider  geological audience. This is another Special Publication destined to adorn only university library bookshelves, and one or two specialists.

Finally; why is this publication called’ Palaeozoic Climate Cycles’ when it is so very clearly limited to the late Palaeozoic – Carboniferous to Triassic?

Reviewed by Arthur Tingley

GASIEWICZ,A and SLOWAKIEWICZ,M (eds) 2013. Palaeozoic Climate Cycles:Their Evolutionary and Sedimentological Impact. Geological Society. London. Special Publication  376