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Geoscientist Online

Earth Materials – Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology (Second Edition)

gdchkWeighing-in at over 600 pages, presented in large US ‘quarto’-style format with numerous colour photographs, figures and graphs, the second edition of this established textbook is a truly comprehensive introduction to mineralogy and petrology!

Arranged in 18 chapters, the volume guides the reader through the fundamentals of geology, rock-forming minerals and rock identification, before concentrating on the more detailed aspects of geology such as crystallography, microscopy and mineralogy. There are useful chapters on igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock-forming minerals, all presented with appropriate / diagnostic photographs and figures. The final few chapters discuss economic minerals, resource potential of geological materials, including geothermal energy, hazard assessment and minerals that have a detrimental effect on human health and welfare.

The volume contains a thorough glossary and several indexes for specific minerals and rocks (in addition to a general index). The volume also contains a chart for the estimation of mineral abundance via microscope examination (or hand specimen), and the periodic table of the elements. The second edition also features a completely new chapter providing an elementary introduction to thermodynamics, kinetics, radioactive decay and absolute dating. A new section is also included on hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) and discussion of some of its most serious potential environmental effects (primarily from a US perspective).

Each chapter ends with a concise summary of the learning aims, offers review questions and indicates useful online information sources and suggestions for further reading. PowerPoint slides and JPEGs of all figures from the volume are also made available online from the publishers. At the time of writing this review, these resources appear to be available only to academic staff / instructors.

The second edition has clearly been updated and revised based upon teaching / classroom experience and student feedback acquired by the authors.

In summary, the volume provides an excellent undergraduate overview of how mineralogy and petrology relate to planet Earth, its formation and modification by sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic processes. The addition of the new chapter about thermodynamics and kinetics underpins the thorough treatment of key concepts in petrology and mineralogy. An excellent revision to an established and authoritative text. An affordable and recommended read.

Reviewed by Mark Griffin

EARTH MATERIALS – INTRODUCTION TO MINERALOGY AND PETROLOGY (SECOND EDITION) by CORNELIUS KLIEN AND ANTHONY PHILPOTTS. Cambridge University Press. 2017. ISBN 978-1-60885-967-2. Sbk. 616pp. List Price: £49.99.  W: www.cambridge.org.uk.