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geology

Basin and Range

by John McPhee

ISBN 0374109141 / 9780374109141 / 0-374-10914-1
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

One of the most valuable tools for the advancement of geological science has in fact been the humble road cut. United States Interstate 80 crosses the entire North American continent, in the process exposing hundreds of millions of years of geological history. In Basin and Range, McPhee, accompanied at times by Princeton geologist Kenneth S. Deffeyes, demonstrates how the contorted and tilted rocks seen in these road cuts reveal how islands of the earth's crust have floated across the earth's surface, crashing and folding to form basin and range. This is a masterful and sometimes even poetic volume of popular writing about plate tectonics, communicating the profound satisfaction of using scientific research as a tool for understanding the world around us.

This is the first of four books on North American geology by McPhee, collectively entitled Annals of the Former World. The other volumes are In Suspect Terrain, Rising from the Plains, and Assembling California. [via]