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Arsenic: Environmental Geochemistry, Mineralogy, and Microbiology

sdfyThe comprehensive Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry series of volumes published by the Mineralogical Society of American and the Geochemical Society provides researchers and students in a wide range of Earth Science disciplines with a huge amount of vital information on a range of key mineralogical and geochemical topics. Volume 79 in this series is no exception, providing a comprehensive overview of the low temperature and environmental geochemistry and mineralogy of arsenic.

The book is based around a short course given at the 2014 Goldschmidt conference in California, but provides much more than simply slightly expanded short course-notes. The first few chapters of the volume focus on an overview of arsenic geochemistry and mineralogy, including sampling and analytical techniques, before delving into certain aspects of the environmental geochemistry of arsenic in more detail. The final five chapters provide a good overview of the nature and management of arsenic in mine waste, finishing on case studies of two gold mining districts and the unique Tsumeb deposit in Namibia.

Each chapter cites a comprehensive list of references, enabling the reader to delve deeper into the literature as needed, although the amount of information presented by the volume means that this may not often be the case. The volume is very much focused on low temperature processes, especially those that relate to arsenic contamination issues, although there is still a considerable amount of information that will be useful for higher temperature geochemists and geologists. In addition, while the hardcopy version of the book is devoid of colour (barring 22 somewhat spectacular plates provided in the centre of the book) the PDF version contains numerous colour images that are often easier to understand and interpret than is the case for the hardcopy version.

However, this is the only gripe I have; in every other way this volume should provide senior undergraduate and postgraduate students and researchers working on almost every aspect of arsenic geochemistry and mineralogy with a comprehensive handbook that will be very useful in their research. The pricing of the Reviews in Mineralogy series also means that this excellent volume should be readily available to all Earth scientists who work in this field, as well as to university libraries and environmental and mining company geologists and geochemists, all of whom will find something of use in here. In other words, if you work on any aspect of arsenic geochemistry or mineralogy, this book is for you.

Reviewed by Simon Jowitt

ARSENIC: ENVIRONMENTAL GEOCHEMISTRY, MINERALOGY, AND MICROBIOLOGY by R J BOWELL, C N ALPERS, H E JAMIESON, D K NORDSTROM & J MAZJLAN (Eds). 2014 Reviews in Mineralogy & Geochemistry #79. ISBH: 978-0-939950-94-2.  W: www.minsocam.org/msa/rim/rim79.html