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Understanding Geology Through Maps

stytrsy'Geological Map Interpretation' would be an alternative title for this no frills, workmanlike volume.

It  would seem to be  a reworking  and publication of tutor's notes for a first-year university course; although in some places it is stated that this is a stand-alone ‘course’ , in others the reader is referred to ‘your supervisor’. So I have concluded that the author was writing this as a text to accompany and provide source material for an introductory course on geological maps.  Indeed it does feel more like a textbook aimed at providing a lecturer with some source material.

In the foreword the author offers some insight into his expectations of the person who buys this book, namely: “A student's most powerful tool is humility; if you commence this course...with the same rigorous, scholarly attitude as with a course in calculus, you will develop a very powerful level of comprehension”. No doubt true, and while the exercises contained in the book are straightforward, there are no answers, which I feel might be a little harsh if the student is not confident with the subject matter.

As a lecture aid it is very adequate, although I feel it will not necessarily enthuse those who do not have the requisite ‘attitude’, and who might like their illustrations to be in colour, or to be less of a detective story. The explanatory text for some of the exercises does need to be sought out, and could well lead to confusion and frustration.

The text is abundantly illustrated in black and white, and even the geological map extracts have been reworked, perhaps to facilitate copying.  As a result there are quite a few typos, the most disorientating of which is in figure 7.4 which places the Wenlock and Llandovery within the Ordovician on the (all Silurian) Island of Gotland!

I suspect that given a choice between this austere format and more modern styles (such as Bennison et al. 2011) the latter is likely to appeal to the lone student, whereas the subject of this review may well be preferred by a lecturer who needs the lesson-plan virtually on a plate.

In terms of the content, this book is technically comprehensive, and it does what it says on the cover despite its drawbacks.

UNDERSTANDING  GEOLOGY THROUGH MAPS, by GRAHAM BORRADAILE , 2014. Published by: Elsevier  183 pp [Hardback]  ISBN 978-0-12-800866-9


Bennison  G, Olver P, Moseley K  2011. An Introduction to Geological Structures and Maps.  Hodder Education

Reviewed by: Arthur Tingley