Principles of Glacial Geomorphology and Geology

Principles of Glacial Geomorphology and Geology

348 Book reviews findings in other chapters of the volume, the author points out that more detailed spatial data does not always translate into bett...

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Book reviews

findings in other chapters of the volume, the author points out that more detailed spatial data does not always translate into better model estimates in the case of erosion. Chapters 8 and 9 both focus on the use of GIS in studies of landslide stability. Miller and Sias begin with a detailed analysis of one particular large landslide in Washington, and illustrate the use of processbased groundwater and slope stability models implemented within a GIS to estimate the spatial patterns and magnitudes of potential landslide response to changes in the landslide’s immediate environment. Montgomery et al. present a much broader study of landslide risk applied to over 3000 shallow landslides in 14 different watersheds in Oregon and Washington. The remaining three chapters address applications of GIS to widely varying problems. Loague and Corwin present a groundwater study of contaminant plumes in Fresno, California, and Mertes et al. discuss a remote sensing-based study of sediment plumes in coastal waters off of Southern California. Gurnell et al. conclude the volume with a detailed GIS investigation of morphological and ecological change on a meander bend of the River Dee in Wales. While certain groupings of papers are highly relevant to one another, there is no overarching, unifying theme running through the volume, and certain articles seem somewhat disconnected from the larger collection of research. However, the variety represented within the volume becomes quite an intriguing theme in and of itself, as the reader becomes aware of the diverse sets of issues faced by researchers applying GIS to hydrological problems. Given the highly variable nature of the research presented, the editors are not to be faulted for the lack of cohesion in the volume. However, this issue could have been partially addressed by the addition of a short concluding chapter synthesizing the research and reinforcing the brief summary provided in the Introduction. Overall, the collection of papers is an excellent illustration of why the increasing spatial resolution of hydrological data and recent advances in hydrological modeling capabilities have made GIS a very attractive research tool. As such, the book would make an excellent set of readings for a graduate seminar on GIS and hydrological modeling, or as a set of supple-

mentary readings for an advanced practical environmental GIS course.

Melinda D. Daniels Department of Geography, University of Connecticut, 215 Glenbrook Road, U-4148, Storrs, CT 06269-4148, USA E-mail address: [email protected] doi:10.1016/S0169-555X(02)00341-0

Principles of Glacial Geomorphology and Geology Peter Martini, Michael E. Brookfield, and Steven Sadura, Prentice Hall, NJ, 2001. Hardback, x and 381 pp., 278 figures (black-and-white photographs and diagrams), 12 tables, US $73.00, ISBN 0-13-526518-5 With the advent of interest in glaciers and climate change, there is an increasing need for a basic text to introduce glacier dynamics to the budding geomorphologist. Recent events have sparked current public and academic interest from the calving off of Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf to the receding and disappearance of glaciers worldwide. Principles of Glacial Geomorphology and Geology is a good introductory text of the principles of glacier dynamics that provides a good initiation into the discipline. It covers all the basics and is written for the advanced high school or undergraduate college student, who have had basic science courses with emphasis on geology and geomorphology. The ensuing chapters focus on glacial geomorphology and contain the appropriate figures and examples that paint a vivid picture of the mechanics driving the changes in both glaciers and landscapes over space and through time. The authors used black and white photographs to illustrate the examples, thus, keeping the book relatively inexpensive and non-cost prohibitive for the student, with a bulk of the imagery originating from the Canadian Arctic, New Zealand, and Greenland with a modicum from Antarctica; however, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then might not a color picture be the most descriptive? Not to worry, however, for the authors thought so as well and have included a useful array of world wide web (WWW) sites that showcase first-rate imagery that enhances the text.

Book reviews

Given the importance of glaciers in the context of climate change, I would like to have seen more discussion on the current views of climate change and possible links to anthropogenic effects on glacial processes in the first chapter, instead of limiting the discussion to a paragraph in the preface, but patient readers will find that the authors go into fine detail of the climate change topic in the latter chapters. The contents page is in a logical order and formatted into four major sections. The brief volume consists of a concise preface and an introduction, neither spanning more than three pages. The first major section, Glaciology, is a weak introduction to basic glaciology with a shallow summary of the guiding concepts. This chapter deserved more attention and should be more explicit in discussing basic terminology and physical principles of the discipline, and it should have been folded into Chapter 2: Ice Properties. There are some minor problems with the early chapters as basic terminology is not always defined well in the chapter and is missing from the glossary of selected terms. Also, some scientific formulas are missing variable definitions. Though these small editorial problems are minute, the authors had the forethought to include websites focused on glacial terminology at the end of the glossary section. Overall, Chapter 2, Ice Properties, provides a good foundation for the following chapters in the text. After Chapter 2, there is little weakness to be found in the rest of the book. Chapter 3, Glaciers, starts an excellent breakdown of rudimentary glacial geomorphology, and it is not until this chapter that the book really revels in the subject and gains the momentum necessary to capture the unique intricacies of glacier dynamics and how glaciers alter landscape. The second major section, Glacial Geomorphology, contains three strong chapters that tackle the multifarious concepts on erosion and deposition processes. Though the context of these chapters is technical, they are easily understood through careful explanation, examples, and clear figures. Chapter 6, Glacial Deposition, is the exception for though the figures are useful, more plan view photographs of moraines would be necessary to envision moraine placement in relation to the glacier. Utilization of the referred websites might be necessary to seek the aid of photographs to further clarify the information for a student. Chapter 7, Fluvial Sediments and Land-


forms, is a good introduction to fluvial geomorphology and sedimentology for the beginner. The basic general overview makes use of interesting and debatable case histories, especially the material comprising the megafloods. Chapter 8, Glaciomarine and Glaciolacustrine Environments, is one of the finest in the entire volume and really builds off earth system science with a detailed review focusing on oceanographic and lake processes and their role in sedimentation with good examples from the Canadian subarctic. The third major section, Periglacial Environments, consists of two well-adapted chapters, Chapter 9, Eolian Sediments and Landforms, and Chapter 10, Cold Climate and Frozen-Ground Processes and Features, investigate how eolian transport and deposition as well as cold-climate and frozen ground processes further shape the landscape. Who does not love a good pingo? In the context of cold climate weathering, all the material is there and is discussed in length with great clarity. The fourth and final major section, Geology, is perhaps not the best title for this section as it is devoted not just to geology, but to understanding the interdisciplinary causes behind glaciation and deglaciation and the subsequent impacts on biota. This is where the big picture of glacial geomorphology and geology over the past, present, and future is woven from the many pieces of available lines of evidence. I tout these chapters as some of the best in the book. There is good use of recent ice core research in Greenland and Antarctica, for example the Lake Vostok and the Antarctic Ice Sheet climate data. Overall, the authors have created a fine body of work. As an Antarctic devotee, references to Terra Incognita were too few for my cravings, but the book definitely makes an important contribution to the discipline and is an engaging text overall. With enthusiasm, I recommend this book to beginners as it provides a strong foundation for the discipline. Dianna Alsup Gielstra Department of Geography, Texas A&M University, 810 O&M Building, College Station, TX 77843, USA E-mail address: [email protected] doi: 10.1016/S0169-555X(02)00342-2