Geology
Featured Items
The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet
The Great Quake
How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet
Hardcover      ISBN: 1101904062
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

In the bestselling tradition of Erik Larson's Isaac's Storm, The Great Quake is a riveting narrative about the biggest earthquake in North American recorded history -- the 1964 Alaska earthquake that demolished the city of Valdez and swept away the island village of Chenega -- and the geologist who hunted for clues to explain how and why it took place.

At 5:36 p.m. on March 27, 1964, a magnitude 9.2. earthquake - the second most powerful in world history - struck the young state of Alaska. The violent shaking, followed by massive tsunamis, devastated the southern half of the state and killed more than 130 people. A day later, George Plafker, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, arrived to investigate. His fascinating scientific detective work in the months that followed helped confirm the then-controversial theory of plate tectonics.

In a compelling tale about the almost unimaginable brute force of nature, New York Times science journalist Henry Fountain combines history and science to bring the quake and its aftermath to life in vivid detail. With deep, on-the-ground reporting from Alaska, often in the company of George Plafker, Fountain shows how the earthquake left its mark on the land and its people -- and on science.


Crystals for Beginners: A Guide to Collecting & Using Stones & Crystals
Crystals for Beginners
A Guide to Collecting & Using Stones & Crystals
Paperback      ISBN: 0738707554

Crystals for Beginners makes it easy to learn about crystals and how to use their positive energy in a variety of practical ways. This friendly introductory guide explores crystal magic, folklore, and wisdom. It features an alphabetical guide to crystals, along with advice on collecting, cleansing, and charging them. Handy reference charts help you quickly find information on birthstones, zodiac stones, precious metals, and more. You can empower, clarify, and illuminate your life with the help of these beautiful gems.

  • Balance body, mind, and spirit
  • Calm and center emotions
  • Tap into inner wisdom
  • Amplify and focus energy
  • Experience richer dreams
  • Develop intuition and creativity
Annals of the Former World
Annals of the Former World
Paperback      ISBN: 0374518734

The Pulitzer Prize-winning view of the continent, across the fortieth parallel and down through 4.6 billion years

Twenty years ago, when John McPhee began his journeys back and forth across the United States, he planned to describe a cross section of North America at about the fortieth parallel and, in the process, come to an understanding not only of the science but of the style of the geologists he traveled with. The structure of the book never changed, but its breadth caused him to complete it in stages, under the overall title Annals of the Former World.

Like the terrain it covers, Annals of the Former World tells a multilayered tale, and the reader may choose one of many paths through it. As clearly and succinctly written as it is profoundly informed, this is our finest popular survey of geology and a masterpiece of modern nonfiction.

Annals of the Former World is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.

The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers
The Source
How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers
Hardcover      ISBN: 0393242358

America has more than 250,000 rivers, coursing over more than 3 million miles, connecting the disparate regions of the United States. On a map they can look like the veins, arteries, and capillaries of a continent-wide circulatory system, and in a way they are. Over the course of this nation's history rivers have served as integral trade routes, borders, passageways, sewers, and sinks. Over the years, based on our shifting needs and values, we have harnessed their power with waterwheels and dams, straightened them for ships, drained them with irrigation canals, set them on fire, and even attempted to restore them.

In this fresh and powerful work of environmental history, Martin Doyle tells the epic story of America and its rivers, from the U.S. Constitution's roots in interstate river navigation, the origins of the Army Corps of Engineers, the discovery of gold in 1848, and the construction of the Hoover Dam and the TVA during the New Deal, to the failure of the levees in Hurricane Katrina and the water wars in the west. Along the way, he explores how rivers have often been the source of arguments at the heart of the American experiment--over federalism, sovereignty and property rights, taxation, regulation, conservation, and development.

Through his encounters with experts all over the country--a Mississippi River tugboat captain, an Erie Canal lock operator, a dendrochronologist who can predict the future based on the story trees tell about the past, a western rancher fighting for water rights--Doyle reveals the central role rivers have played in American history--and how vital they are to its future.

Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River
Where the Water Goes
Life and Death Along the Colorado River
Paperback      ISBN: 0735216096
An eye-opening account of where our water comes from and where it all goes.

The Colorado River is an essential resource for a surprisingly large part of the United States, and every gallon that flows down it is owned or claimed by someone. David Owen traces all that water from the Colorado's headwaters to its parched terminus, once a verdant wetland but now a million-acre desert. He takes readers on an adventure downriver, along a labyrinth of waterways, reservoirs, power plants, farms, fracking sites, ghost towns, and RV parks, to the spot near the U.S.-Mexico border where the river runs dry.

Water problems in the western United States can seem tantalizingly easy to solve: just turn off the fountains at the Bellagio, stop selling hay to China, ban golf, cut down the almond trees, and kill all the lawyers. But a closer look reveals a vast man-made ecosystem that is far more complex and more interesting than the headlines let on.

The story Owen tells in Where the Water Goes is crucial to our future: how a patchwork of engineering marvels, byzantine legal agreements, aging infrastructure, and neighborly cooperation enables life to flourish in the desert --and the disastrous consequences we face when any part of this tenuous system fails.

Fifty Minerals That Changed the Course of History
Fifty Minerals That Changed the Course of History
Paperback      ISBN: 1770855874

"The brief sections are consistently interesting, and plenty of supplemental illustrations and photos make this a handsome volume... best-suited to curious kids and casual mineralogists." --Publishers Weekly

"A beautiful book, nicely bound and richly illustrated... written in an easy to read, casual style." --Science Books and Films

Fifty Minerals that Changed the Course of History is a beautifully presented guide to the minerals that have had the greatest impact on human civilization. These are the materials used from the Stone Age to the First and Second Industrial Revolutions to the Nuclear Age and include metals, ores, alloys, salts, rocks, sodium, mercury, steel and uranium. The book includes minerals used as currency, as jewelry and as lay and religious ornamentation when combined with gem minerals like diamonds, amber, coral, and jade.

Examples of the fifty minerals are:

  • Diamonds: Did a necklace ordered by Louis XV precipitate the French Revolution?
  • Sulphur: The biblical brimstone now used in organic farming.
  • Clay: The oldest ceramic object is not a cooking pot or drinking bowl, but a statuette.
  • Arsenic: Was Napoleon murdered while imprisoned on the island of St. Helena?
  • Coal: The Romans invented the first central heating system.
  • Saltpeter: China's fourth "Great Invention" was perhaps not so great after all.
  • Salt: Once used as currency, we give it little thought today.
  • Jade: The Chinese fabric of "pajamas for eternity."
  • Ubiquitous or rare, the minerals described in Fifty Minerals that Changed the Course of History have been fundamental to human progress, for good or evil. Many are familiar -- the aluminum can we drink from, the car we drive, the jewelry we wear. They can be poisons, medicines or weapons, but wherever found and however used, their importance can be easily overlooked. This attractive reference gives us fascinating insight into our undeniable dependence on minerals.

    The National Gem Collection
    The National Gem Collection
    Paperback      ISBN: 0810927586

    When a perfect mineral crystal has been cut and polished into a form of great beauty by a skilled craftsperson, it is called a gem. Gems are among the most charismatic objects in the history of the world, and are probably more valuable per volume than any other artifacts from or on the earth. In this book, Dr. Jeffrey E. Post, curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection, surveys the world of gems, discussing diamonds, corundum gems (rubies and sapphires), beryl gems (such as emeralds), quartz gems, garnets, topaz, tourmaline, peridots, zircons, spinels, chrysoberyl, spodumene, tanzanite, feldspar gems, opals, starts and cat's eyes, ornamental stones (such as jade, lapis lazuli, and turquoise), and rare and unusual gems, as well as the collection's historical jewels. Chip Clark, the museum's senior staff photographer, captures the colours and brilliance of hundreds of gems.

    Rising from the Plains
    Rising from the Plains
    Paperback      ISBN: 0374520658

    Rising from the Plains is John McPhee's third book on geology and geologists. Following Basin and Range and In Suspect Terrain, it continues to present a cross section of North America along the fortieth parallel--a series gathering under the overall title Annals of the Former World.

    Minnesota Rocks & Minerals: A Field Guide to the Land of 10,000 Lakes
    Minnesota Rocks & Minerals
    A Field Guide to the Land of 10,000 Lakes
    Paperback      ISBN: 1591933021

    Your Must-Have Guide to Minnesota's Rocks and Minerals

    Get the perfect guide to rocks and minerals in the Land of 10,000 Lakes This book by Dan R. Lynch and Bob Lynch features comprehensive entries for 90 Minnesota rocks and minerals, from common rocks to rare finds. Learn from the fascinating information about everything from agates and iron ore to fossils and gold. The easy-to-use format means you'll quickly find what you need to know and where to look. The authors' incredible, sharp, full-color photographs depict the detail needed for identification--no need to guess from line drawings.

    With this field guide in hand, identifying and collecting is fun and informative.

    Assembling California
    Assembling California
    Paperback      ISBN: 0374523932

    At various times in a span of fifteen years, John McPhee made geological field surveys in the company of Eldridge Moores, a tectonicist at the University of California at Davis. The result of these trips is Assembling California, a cross-section in human and geologic time, from Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada through the golden foothills of the Mother Lode and across the Great Central Valley to the wine country of the Coast Ranges, the rock of San Francisco, and the San Andreas family of faults. The two disparate time scales occasionally intersect--in the gold disruptions of the nineteenth century no less than in the earthquakes of the twentieth--and always with relevance to a newly understood geologic history in which half a dozen large and separate pieces of country are seen to have drifted in from far and near to coalesce as California. McPhee and Moores also journeyed to remote mountains of Arizona and to Cyprus and northern Greece, where rock of the deep-ocean floor has been transported into continental settings, as it has in California. Global in scope and a delight to read, Assembling California is a sweeping narrative of maps in motion, of evolving and dissolving lands.