13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A cross-section of California at your fingertips.,
This review is from: Assembling California (Paperback)
My firsthand experience of living in Northern California has endeared me to its fascinating geology, for not too many places on earth have seen so much upheaval: from transform faults to terranes banging against the continent, the uplift of melange complexes from the seafloor, and the splendid manifestation of batholiths that is the Sierra Nevada. A drive from Tahoe to San Francisco takes you across ancient batholiths to the fore-arc basin of the Central Valley and ultimately to the melange and suspect terrane mosaic that is the Coast Ranges, Twin Peaks, and the Marin Headlands.
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.