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Assembling California Paperback – February 1, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The idea of plate tectonics was a revolution in viewing the earth. Previous thinking was nearly all limited to regional, often arcane, activity. Plate tectonics was the first truly global image of the planet's workings. It was elegant, universal, and it explained so much, so well, that fitting it to conditions was almost simple. Plates move, crunch one another, raise mountains, often with spewing volcanoes, and end their career by sinking below the crust. Look at a map of California [easy to do, since there's one at the front of the book]. It all seems so manifestly organized. Parallel mountain ranges running north-south, separated by logically placed valleys. But the Sierra Nevada stands in lofty majesty compared to the Coast Range standing west across the Great Valley. It shouldn't.
According to Moores, that's symptomatic. By plate tectonics' definition, it should be the Coast Range that should rising in reaction to the pressure of the continental movement. And why is the Great Valley so wide if a whole continent is trying to crowd the Sierra Nevada west?Read more ›
What John McPhee's book successfully delivers is an accessible cross-section of the geology of the golden state at your fingertips, including those, including myself, who wax nostalgic about being a former inhabitant of this geologic wonderland. McPhee explains not only geologic processes but also how geology affected exploration and exploitation of the state's resources. The geology is not dead, for it resonates to this day and to the far future, what with the awesome power yet to be unleashed from California's labyrinthine faults and from the still burgeoning mass of the Cascade volcanoes to the north. Nevertheless, McPhee gives a personal and friendly touch to California's big-time geology.
This is my personal favorite of John McPhee's entries in the series ANNALS OF THE FORMER WORLD because I learned the most from it. McPhee's anecdotal yet masterful synthesis helps those who are not professional geologists to make some sense of California's tangled geological past. He uses the theory of Plate Tectonics to explain events and features that are extremely difficult to make sense of otherwise. Anyone who wants to know more about geology or who has a budding geologist in the family should make this book (and the entire series) required reading.
When the publishers print a new edition, as I hope they will, the following would greatly aid readers who are not geologists: (1) an index, (2) either chapter numbers or titles, and (3) a glossary of the more important geological terms. I suspect that readers who gave the book anything less than four stars may have wished for such reader-friendly aids. There are so many goodies in the text that it is enormously frustrating not to be able to go back and re-read specific entries without the difficulty of relocating them. The only way readers have of tracing passages that they wish to re-read is by page number or marking the text itself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
California "The Golden Geology State" seen (mostly) from a car cruising I-80 and its feeder roads, and in the company of one of the movers and shakers (sorry) of the still-recent... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Zachary Smith
This book is a lot of fun to read if you have interest in Earth Sciences, Geography, Geology. I recommend to read it with Google Earth or a similar program next to you, or even an... Read morePublished 2 months ago by woodpecker
If you like a conversation with a geologist. You'll like this book. A very plausible explanation of how California and the rest of the West Coast joined the American Craton. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jon deNeui, JdN
If I were a geologist I'd probably give it 5. I don't know enough to be so presumptiousPublished 5 months ago by Seamus O. Daimhin
Interesting narrative about California geology interspersed with California history. Recommended.Published 5 months ago by N. Pappas
Maybe I struggled with the geological terminology but this lovely book was super readable and entertaining. The man writes beautifully and in a light and engaging style. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Julie Murphy
Haven't finished it yet. I keep having to look up geological terms. It is not that technical and it has great stories within the book - such as the Gold Rush in 1848. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Reads historical novels