History of Geomorphology and Quaternary Geology.
Edited by R. H. Grapes, D. Oldroyd and A. Grigelis
Geological Society of London Special
Publication 301 (2008)
Hard cover, 336p.
Price 85.00 [pounds sterling]
This Geological Society Special Publication resulted from the 2006 annual conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, of the International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences (INHIGEO), which is affiliated with the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and the International Union on the History and Philosophy of Sciences (IUHPS).
The conference volume, which sells for US $170.00 in North America, will be attractive to those who happen to be interested in one or more of the papers, all of which are on quite specific topics. Furthermore, there are several thorough and thoughtful papers that will serve as models for review and analysis of the history of topical and regional themes in these fields.
Topics addressed by the various papers include origin of the term Quaternary, several biographies, the history of ideas in regional geomorphology and glacial geology, Australian geomorphology, peneplains in China, as well as Japanese Quaternary history.
Individual papers deal with an introduction, Adolphe von Morlot's contribution to the term Quaternary, the Spokane Flood debates, pluvial lakes of the US West, evolution of the theory of continental glaciation in Europe, development of ideas on Pliocene and Quaternary glaciations in Europe, Kropotkin's 1876 monograph on the Glacial Period, Quaternary research in the Baltic countries, glaciomorphology research in Lithuania and Poland, work on the Quaternary of Lithuania, early ideas about erratic boulders and glacial phenomena in the Netherlands, planation surfaces in China, the Palaeo-Tokyo Bay concept, Cenozoic history of Australia, desert dunes in Australia, early ideas on the development of the river systems in eastern Australia, early geological investigations of the Pleistocene Tamala Limestone in Western Australia, a Charles Cotton biography, and glaciation and earth movements in New Zealand.
The introduction by D.R. Oldroyd of the University of New South Wales and R.H. Grapes of Korea University is thorough in its review of past work on the history of geomorphology, including discussion on the pivotal roles of Davis and Penck in the discipline, and a review of historical analyses of their work, those that preceded them, and those that came after. They similarly review the roots of Quaternary geology. To complete their introduction, Oldroyd and Grapes then carefully discuss each of the disparate papers in the volume.
Broad reviews begin the volume, and the review of the term Quaternary by M. Klemun is timely, given recent discussion on usage of the term. V. Baker's paper on debates regarding catastrophic flooding in the US Northwest is an important case study in the way thinking can evolve that, at least, is relevant to geomorphology. The review of work on western US pluvial lakes by A. Orme is well structured with respect to its review of phases in the research back to initial recognition prior to 1870, while also examining current developments such as linkage of pluvial lake history to regional ecology and global climate. The paper on the evolution of the theory of continental glaciation in northern and eastern Europe by A. Raukas deals with early recognition of continental glaciation in Switzerland, as well as the influential figures who played a role in widespread adoption of this model.
Biographical papers and themes in European regional geology follow, beginning with an autobiographical account by E. E. Milanovsky that reviews his own work on the origin and development of ideas on Pliocene and Quaternary glaciations in northern and eastern Europe, Iceland, Caueasus and Siberia. T. K. Ivanova and V. A. Markin then outline how the great later nineteenth century works in Quatemary geology by Piotr Alekseevich Kropotkin are little known in the west, at least relative to his writings in anarchist philosophy. A. Gaigalas reviews Quaternary research in the Baltic countries, including discussion on social and political context, and thoughtfully structures the article into periods ranging from nineteenth century to post-1990 progress. A. Gaigalas, M. Graniczny, J. Satknas, and H. Urban review the work of Czestaw Pachucki, considered a pioneer of modern glaciomorphology in Lithuania and Poland. O. Kondratiene and M. Stancikaite then present a paper on studies of the Quaternary formations in Lithuania by Valerija Cepulyte (1904-1987)--the first woman in Lithuania to take a doctoral degree in geographical science. In the final paper on the European theme, F. R. Van Veen discusses early ideas about erratic boulders and glacial phenomena in the Netherlands.
Reviews of themes that relate to east Asia and Australia are the next set of conference papers in the volume, beginning with a paper on one hundred years of investigation on the planation surfaces in China by K. Zhang, followed by a paper on the Palaeo-Tokyo Bay concept by M. Yajima. Papers on Australia follow, beginning with a review of work on Australian Cenozoic history by D. Branagan, and followed by discussion on the study of desert dunes in Australia by C. R. Twidale, and a paper by D. R. Oldroyd on early ideas on the development of the river systems of the Sydney region of eastern Australia. Finally, W. Mayer discusses early geological investigations of the Pleistocene Tamala Limestone in Western Australia.
R. H. Grapes then presents a paper on New Zealand geomorphologist Sir Charles Cotton (1885-1970). Finally, M. S. Brook presents a review of the work of George Leslie Adkin (1888-1964) on glaciation and earth movements in the Tararua Range, North Island, New Zealand.
Reviewed by Harvey Thorleifson
Minnesota Geological Survey
2642 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55114 USA
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|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2010|
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