Top positive review
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The ONLY up-to-date textbook on California geology
on May 1, 2000
Deborah Hardin's textbook on California geology is superior to all previous texts inasmuch as she is the first to utilize the theory of plate tectonics to provide a unified framework for her overall exposition. Instead of being bombarded with an encyclopedic but chaotic assemblage of rock types and unconnected microprocesses, the reader is treated to a consistent and comprehensive picture of how California came to be that hangs together remarkably well.
Harden utilized the recent research of countless other geologists to put together this book, and her hard work has paid off. She includes several chapters that provide a conceptual overview of geologic principles, then goes on in successive sections to describe how various forces and processes related ultimately to plate tectonics have been responsible for the evolution of various distinctive landforms and geomorphic regions of California. She also includes a final chapter that is a stand-alone summary version of the "geological history of California." Throughout the book, she makes clear again and again how a clear understanding of the various ways that tectonic plates can interact is absolutely fundamental to understanding how California has come into existence over the past several hundred million years. It's a fascinating story, and Harden's text will help anyone willing to read carefully and study a bit to learn the basics of California geology.
As an added bonus, Harden has included several sections that are linked to present-day environmental hazards, most notably those related to the constant threat of earthquakes in the Golden State. Such information is, of course linked directly to the geology of the state that she has described and explained so well.
The illustrations and diagrams re not terribly elaborate, but they are helpful and reasonably plentiful. Also included are some small-sized versions of the standard California geology and fault maps.
The main drawback to this publication is its astronomical price. This is hardly Harden's fault, however, as high prices seem to be the unfortunate standard for college textbooks these days.