This article was written by one of our amazing contributors! Content may include promotional links.
Geology can be a wide-ranging field, spanning multiple disciplines. From the study of the origins and history of our planet as a whole, to encompassing everything down to the smallest grain of sand, each branch of geology has its own branches and professions ranging from the grand to the mundane.
Some geological specialties include: paleontology, the study of fossils and ancient life; oceanography, investigating underwater and coastal geology; mineralogy, classifying minerals and understanding how they are made; volcanology, researching current and past volcanoes and predicting when the next one may erupt; hydrogeology, relating to both surface and groundwater distribution and how it flows.
With such a wide field, there are bound to be many books on the subject. Let’s take a look at some of the more highly recommended reading materials.
Geology Illustrated – John S. Shelton 1976
Before going out to look for Geology Degree Jobs, you have to start somewhere (generally with a 101 course, and hopefully with Geology Illustrated). This book is suggested for anyone just starting out in the field of geology. It covers difficult to understand concepts in a way that makes them easier to truly comprehend.
Shelton backs up detailed descriptions with excellent photography. Also found among the pages are superb hand-drawn illustrations; after all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Although out of print, this book can be found online and in second-hand shops. It is worth the trouble of tracking down this contemporary geology book.
Understanding Earth – John Grotzinger, Thomas H. Jordan
Understanding Earth is another great resource for beginners, or just for someone looking for a book that covers a wide range of geological topics. This extensive textbook was written by two leading and respected scientists. Pictures, tables, and graphs make learning much easier and do a good job of illustrating the information being presented.
Understanding Earth is a popular text book used for Geology courses in many universities. It is highly trusted and approved by professors. This book stands as good reference material beyond geology 101, too.
Annals of the Former World – John McPhee
While not as directly informative as a text book or guide, Annals of the Former World still manages to impart knowledge on the reader. This book tells the story of how our planet came to be the way it is today, and it does so in an entertaining way. Read more like poetry than dry information, the author’s detailed descriptions of the evolution of our planet evoke vivid imagery.
Annals of the Former World is a well-written explanation of our history from a geologist’s perspective. The mountains, hills, valleys, and plains tell their tales in an interesting and engaging way through McPhee. If you have a deep interest in the topic, you will not be able to put this one down before finishing it entirely.
The amount of reading material on the topic of geology and the study of our planet is astronomical. With so much great information out there, it can be hard to recommend only a small handful of books on the topic. Do a little research and you will be sure to find something that appeals to you; we, however, believe that these three books are a great start.