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Out of print

Myth and Geology

Product Code: SP273
Series: GSL Special Publications - print copy
Author/Editor: Edited by L Piccardi and W B Masse
Publication Date: 16 February 2007
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The title is out of print. It is available electronically from the Lyell Collection.

This book is the first peer-reviewed collection of papers focusing on the potential of myth storylines to yield data and lessons that are of value to the geological sciences. Building on the nascent discipline of geomythology, scientists and scholars from a variety of disciplines have contributed to this volume. The geological hazards (such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and cosmic impacts) that have given rise to myths are considered, as are the sacred and cultural values associated with rocks, fossils, geological formations and landscapes. There are also discussions about the historical and literary perspectives of geomythology. Regional coverage includes Europe and the Mediterranean, Afghanistan, Cameroon, India, Australia, Japan, Pacific islands, South America and North America. Myth and Geology challenges the widespread notion that myths are fictitious or otherwise lacking in value for the physical sciences.


Type: Book
Ten Digit ISBN: 1-86239-216-1
Thirteen Digit ISBN: 978-1-86239-216-8
Publisher: GSL
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 360
Weight: 1.0 kg


Preface, L Piccardi • Geomythology: geological origins of myths and legends, D B Vitaliano • Exploring the nature of myth and its role in science, W B Masse, E Wayland Barber, L Piccardi and P T Barber • Geo-mythology of India, D Chandrasekharam • Genesis Chapter 1 and geological time from Hugo Grotius and Marin Mersenne to William Conybeare and Thomas Chalmers (1620-1825), M B Roberts • Environment and natural hazards in Roman and Medieval texts: presentation of the CLEMENS database project, E Vittori, S Fulloni and L Piccardi • From myth to Earth education and science communication, T Lanza and A Negrete • Folklore and earthquakes: Native American oral traditions from Cascadia compared with written traditions from Japan, R S Ludwin and G J Smits • The AD 60 Denizli Basin Earthquake and the apparition of Archangel Michael at Colossae (Aegean Turkey), L Piccardi • Writing on the walls: geological context and early American spiritual beliefs, S E Hough • The Fenris Wolf in the Nordic Asa creed in the light of palaeoseismics, N-A Mörner • Band-e-Amir lakes and Dragon valley (Bamiyan): myths and seismicity in Afghanistan, F G Bourrouilh-Le Jan, B Akram and M Schvoerer • The Bible and geology: destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, V G Trifonov • Geological histories and geohazard potential of Pacific Islands illuminated by myths, P D Nunn and R Pastorizo • Exploding lakes in myth and reality: an African case study, E Shanklin • Myth and catastrophic reality: using myth to identify cosmic impacts and massive Plinian eruptions in Holocene South America, W B Masse and M J Masse • Cosmogenic mega-tsunami in the Australia region: are they supported by Aboriginal and Maori legends? E Bryant, G Walsh and D Abbott • Meteorite records in the ancient Greek and Latin literature: between history and myth, M d'Orazio • Sooty sweat stains or tourmaline spots? The Argonauts on the Island of Elba (Tuscany) and the spread of Greek trading in the Mediterranean Sea, A Dini, A Corretti, F Innocenti, S Rocchi and D S Westerman • Place names describing fossils in oral traditions, A Mayor • Giants and elephants of Sicily, V Agnesi, C di Patti and B Truden • On the discovery of the ice age: science and myth, W H Berger • Shepherds' crowns, fairy loaves and thunderstones - the mythology of fossil echinoids in England, K J McNamara • Obsidian: sacred glass from the California sky, S Fox Hodgson • Erratic blocks: from protector beings to geosites to be protected, L Motta and M  Motta • The contribution of the 'Sibilla Appenninica' legend to karst knowledge in the Sibillini Mountains (Central Apennines, Italy), D Aringoli, B Gentili, G Pambianchi and A M Piscitelli 


T. Reijers

This book opens a fascinating new window on the geological, but also on the mythological world. It forces everybody to reflect on hidden meanings of legendary folkloristic events and is wholeheartedly recommended to everybody.

Douglas Palmer

Masse’s essay is just one of 25 contained within this fascinating collection, which describes the search for the underlying geological truths behind a global array of myths.

Apart from the intrinsic value of the individual contributions, the volume also serves as a useful introduction to the scope of the subject and its literature,

Rick Minor

Myth and Geology will be a major reference in the field of geomythology for decades to come.

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