Geological oceanography

Geological oceanography

Marine Geology, 28 (1978) 293--297 © Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam -- Printed in The Netherlands Book R e n e w s Geological Oce...

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Marine Geology, 28 (1978) 293--297

© Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam -- Printed in The Netherlands Book R e n e w s

Geological Oceanography. F.P. Shepard. Crane, Russak & Co. Inc., New York, N.Y., 1977, 214 pp., U . S . $ 1 0 . 5 0 . This short b o o k is written for students beginhing to study marine geology or anyone interested in the important developments in this subject that have taken place in the last two decades. Prof. Shepard writes with authority and personal involvement on a field in which he has worked for a very long time. He uses the minimum of jargon. The b o o k opens with a brief introduction leading into a statement of the basic ideas of the global tectonics and sea-floor spreading theory. The next five chapters (3--7 inclusive) cover various aspects of coastal geomorphology, starting with a discussion of waves and currents. Catastrophic waves are afforded a whole chapter, which seems to overemphasize their overall importance. The fifth chapter introduces Prof. Shepard's well-known coastal classification, while the following one is devoted to problems of beach maintenance. The last chapter in this section deals with coastal change in historic times. The eighth chapter is concerned with continental shelves, stressing their modern economic significance. Coral reefs form the subject matter of the ninth chapter. The last two chapters are devoted to submarine canyons and features of the deep-sea floor. Each chapter is followed b y a list of references and suggestions for further reading, and there is an index. One of the major features of the b o o k is the large number of illustrations. There are 114 diagrams, maps and photographs, although the reproduction of some of the latter is not of a very high standard. There are 8 colour photographs at the beginning, four of which show details of coral reefs. Reference to these plates is given incorrectly on p.69 and p.70. The major emphasis in the b o o k is on the new global tectonics, which has received so much support from oceanographical work, and which can be related to many of the conspicuous morphological features of the ocean, such as the oceanic ridges, deep sea trenches, sea mounts and guyots, all of which are considered in the book. There is a brief mention of nearly all topics within the field of geological oceanography, and some other oceanographical features, such as currents and tides are touched upon. The statement on p.41 that ocean currents are stronger on the east side of the ocean in the southern hemisphere is, however, not correct. This clear and simple account of the geology of the oceans should encourage readers to pursue their studies in this field, for which purpose the readings suggested will lead them in the right direction. The growing importance of all aspects o f oceanography has led to the publication of many books in this field, ranging from easy introductions, such as this book, to complex volumes full of mathematical equations and details of the many and varied phenomena of significance in the oceans. Both scientifically and economically there is room for all these approaches. C.A.M. KING (Nottingham)