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Roadside Geology of Northern and Central California Paperback – December 1, 2000


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Roadside Geology of Northern and Central California + Geology Underfoot in Southern California + California Rocks: A guide to Geologic Sites in the Golden State
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Product Details

  • Series: Roadside Geology
  • Paperback: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Mountain Press Publishing Company; 1st edition (December 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878424091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878424092
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Alt is a geology professor at the University of Montana in Missoula. Dedicated to bringing geology to the general public, he cofounded the popular Roadside Geology series. He has written a number of books in the series with coauthor Donald Hyndman, and helps edit others. Alt also teaches elderhostel courses, leads field trips, and presents public lectures about regional geology. He lives in Missoula. Donald W. Hyndman is dedicated to bringing geology to the general public, and cofounded the popular Roadside Geology series. He has written a number of the series titles with coauthor David Alt, and helps edit others. When he is not writing or editing books, Hyndman teaches geology at the University of Montana in Missoula.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
I was extremely disappointed with this book.
David C. White
This is a great book to have along when traveling around Northern and central California.
Fred Guest
I found it easy to understand with geologic terms explained in everyday terms.
GT

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Kard on April 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Once again, David Alt provides a very useful guide to California's roadside geology in this updated and expanded version of his "Roadside Geology of Northern California". It will be especially useful to teachers as a resource for planning lessons and field trips, amateurs who wish to learn more about geology or simply impress their friends, parents with the desire to get their children interested in the subject, and even professional geologists who want to enhance their knowledge.
The book provides a plethora of information for those who wish to see the many interesting and complex geological features of the northern and central areas of California. However, in order to make the best use of this book and fully appreciate the physical and historical geology presented, the reader should have a basic background in geology. This book will even refresh the memories of those folks with a somewhat oxidized recollection of rocks, minerals, geologic structures, and the like.
This book is not aimed at rock hounds, as its emphasis is not on collecting. The educated collector will find it interesting, though.
There are only two "problems" with this book. First, it will lengthen the trips you take as you look for the geologic features it discusses. Second, you may endanger your life as you stop to look at the road cuts discussed in the book or divert your gaze from the road to rocks while driving.
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Roger Edwards on July 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
In 1975, the original "Roadside Geology of Northern California," with the same authors, presented a new way for the amateur rock enthusiast to learn about the complicated geology of northern California. Unfortunately, it was painfully vague, missing important information found in other books of the series, such as significant insight into how formations developed and their ages (e.g., Cretaceous, Devonian, etc.). By in large, this Y2K update solves the problem, and expands the original's spatial coverage southward to San Luis Obispo and the San Joaquin Valley. The improvement in information is phenomenal -- partly because of the increased knowledge gained in 25 years as alluded in the preface, but mostly because of better writing and attention to detail. For example, the Chapter 4 (Coast Range) discussion on how different rock types develop from different areas of ocean sediments may be the best I have ever seen in any forum -- concise (4 pages) and non-technical, yet stuffed with information. Like several other areas of the book, it includes interesting insight into how geologists have handled the difficulties in classifying and sorting California's wild assemblage of rocks; for example: "During the late 1960s, geologists finally accepted that large parts of the Franciscan complex are almost hopelessly scrambled. They agreed to call these chaotic jumbles melanges....Recognition of melanges was, in a way, an admission of defeat." Other chapters contain similar nuggets of "inside" information into the processes of rocks and the way they are studied.
Of course, the foundation of this book, as in the whole series, is in its sequential descriptions and explanations of the rocks one encouters while driving various roadways.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By B. Wynne on August 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
As an owner of the original 1975 edition, I was both impressed and dissapointed by the scope of this edition. In the expanded text, modern geologic theory is covered in plain-English in a manner that makes this a must-have for any geology student or enthusiast. An incredible amount of information lies within the covers in easy to digest segments.
The new road maps themselves however suffer from trying to cover too many miles in too few pages. Compared to the 1st edition, the geologic "points of interest" are fewer and farther between and many notable geologic features are missed or ignored. (It's almost as if Alt and Hyndman rushed a couple of weekend trips along various highways while dictating notes as they whizzed by obvious rock formations.)
Still, it's an excellent reference that does a credible job of covering a 100,000+ square mile area full of some of the most varied and complex geology on the planet.
Good reading both at home and on the road and perfect by itself for the casually curious. Students, teachers and rockhounds will find it to be a valuable "companion book" to more detailed texts as this volume presents only "the big picture" as viewed from the roadside.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Stanford Gibson on August 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
Begins with an accessible description of the major processes that worked to form the diverse and dramatic geology of Northern California. It is a good introductory discussion and introduces most of the concepts referred to in the rest of the book. The roadside guides identify appropriate points of interest and do a good job describing their significance. My only major complaint typifies each of the offerings in this series. The geologic maps (which I believe are the most helpful tool in Geologic synthesis) are in red, black and white are not very clear at all but there are a number of other helpful diagrams that make the text more readable. The text might be a bit of a slog for someone without a Geology background but would not be impossible and should be fairly accessible with just a little initiation. And, after all, Northern California's geology is too sublime for it to just be a bunch of rocks we drive by.
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