Oceanography Textbook

Oceanography Textbook

large-scale structures, the Hecla Hoek Formatitm, the Permian, the Mesozoic and Tertiary, glaciology, geomorphology, geophysics and the igneous rocks...

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large-scale structures, the Hecla Hoek Formatitm, the Permian, the Mesozoic and Tertiary, glaciology, geomorphology, geophysics and the igneous rocks. The description of the stratigraphy of the sediments takes up the greatest part of the volume and the successions and sections visited have been described in great detail, although sometimes with a slight lack of precision. An example of this is that the Triassic is divided into the Indlga and Olenek stages, these unusual terms not being defined. Age determinations are presented by Krasil'schchitov without mention of the decay constants used. If their basic data is recalculated using constants commonly used in the West the age of 400 m.y. is reduced to 384 m.y. (The data of Krasil'schchitov is tabulated in a recalculated form in a paper by Gayer et al. Skrifter no. 137 of the Norsk Polarinstitutt, 1966). The translation is by Dr. J.E. Bradley, edited by Dr. W.B. Harland and it reads very well. The presentation leaves something to be desired and is in part a consequence of the extremely low price. The typescript is in parts only just legible and place names have been typed in later with a heavier type giving an ugly appearance. Would it have cost so much to have retyped the manuscript uniformly with a modern type face? As is often so with Russian papers, the figures are poor and crowded and the keys to the figures difficult to use.

A considerable proportion of modern geological literature is in Russian and the majority of Western geologists have to rely on translations. The present publication is clearly a most useful addition to our knowledge about Spitzbergen and praise is due to the National Lending Library for providing this translation and publishing it at so reasonable a cost. M.R. Wilson

OCEANOGRAPHY TEXTBOOK

A88

geochemistry and certain aspects of geophysics; it is c o r t ~ y thin in some phases of classical physics (tides and ~ as fleaeral phenomena are covered in six or eight scattered pages each), and the biological section (considering the "audience appeal" of this aspect of oceanography) is very brief. Whoever was responsible for ~• checking biological details and nomenclature certainly did Weyl a disservice: almost (but not quite) uniformly generic names are in latin script while specific names are italicized. There are other minor problems to be found in the text. A "typical record produced by the Precision Depth Recorder" (p. 207) looks suspiciously like an excellent early Precision Graphic Recorder subbottom trace made with a sparker or air gun. Ben Franklin was a man of many talents, but no seaman. He hardly would have claimed to have produced his 1770 (not 1777) map of the Gulf Stream "based on personal observations" (p. 39). Another problem, to me, is simply a matter of taste. The general appearance of the book - a function of type styles, paper quality, selection of figures, and many other details - seems juvenile, and does not reflect its potential value to a wide audience. In contrast to the over-simple superficial appearance of this text, the content is quite sophisticated. The author has very properly emphasized "why?" rather than "how?", "what?", or "where?" throughout, leaving it to the instructor to provide detail as he sees fit. Cataloguing of curious phenomena is avoided (with the exception again of the weak biological section), and the critical underlying physical and chemical principles are well expressed. As well, there are some very nice minor touches: units are metric throughout the book, and a useful appendix reviews the use of exponential numbers. I would not hesitate to recommend this text to anyone interested in a general survey of oceanography; Weyl has produced an excellent elementary text which will be a valuable educational tool for year~ I am looking forward to a later edition with a stronger, more carefully edited biological section.

Peter K. Weyl, 1970. Oceanography - A n Introduction to the Marine Environment, Wiley, Chichester, Sussex, 535 pp., £5.50.

F.F. Wright

The elephant has been described as an animal "designed by a committee"; by analogy, oceanography could certainly qualify as a committee-designed science. It is an uneasy mixture of chemistry, biology, geology and physics with no unifying concept other than a common concern with the marine environment. Nothing could make the nature of oceanography more obvious than this excellent new elementary text by Peter WeyL As Weyl explains carefully, he entered the field of oceanography by way of nuclear physics and physical chemistry, Inevitably this influence shows in the text - it is particularly strong in

ORGANIC G E O C ~ T R Y G. Eglinton and bl.TJ. Murphy (Editors), 1970. Organic Geochemistry - Methods and Remits. Springer, Berlin, 828 pp., 246 fig., U.S.|49.00. Organic geochemistry, a typically interdisciplinary science, is concerned with the study of carbon compounds, their origin, distribution and fate in the geological environment. Fundamental problems, such as the origin of life on earth and the evolution of organic compounds in the cosmic space, or also the origin