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Gems, Granites and Gravels: Knowing and Using Rocks and Minerals

By: RV Dietrich and BJ Skinner

173 pages, Illus

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jun 2009 | #181363 | ISBN-13: 9780521107228
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £30.99 $40 / €36 approx

About this book

'Every person on earth uses, either directly or indirectly, ten metric tons of minerals each year.' So write Dr R. V. Dietrich and Dr Brian J. Skinner in their new book Gems, Granites, and Gravels. Minerals and mineral products are involved in all aspects of our lives; we depend on them to keep us alive and ensure the continuity of our society. As a consequence, they have been a source of fascination and study throughout human history. In this book, Drs Dietrich and Skinner consider not only the beauty of minerals and rocks, but also their utility and their roles in our everyday well-being. Gems, Granites and Gravels is a valuable introduction to mineralogy and to related specialities such as petrology (the study of rocks), crystallography (the study of crystals), and soil science. Discoveries in these fields are described in a historical context, while the authors explain what minerals and rocks are, how they are distributed around the world, how we depend on them, and where to see the most beautiful specimens of both minerals and rocks. This book will appeal to anyone interested in natural history and curious about rocks and minerals, including rock and mineral collectors, students of geology, and professional geologists.

An exceptional book...A concise, well-written, beautifully illustrated, and stimulating introduction to mineralogy, petrology, and the human use of minerals, it will make equally pleasurable reading for general undergraduates, introductory geology students, and geologists. Choice "Dietrich and Skinner have teamed together once again to produce a fascinating book on the importance of minerals to our everyday lives...Because this book is a gem of unconventional wisdom about the earth and what it is made of, it would be an excellent gift to your neighbor or naive congressman or the anchor person on your favorite evening newscast. The book could be utilized as secondary reading in introductory earth science courses but covers too much ground to be useful as an undergraduate textbook. I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to all earth scientists who have an interest in communicating what they do to the public and why it is important." Economic Geology "The book is enthusiastic and will interest rock and mineral collectors and those of the general public inclined toward natural history." Canadian Mineralogist "The approach in each chapter is straightforward and certainly achieves the above-stated objective of being both nontechnical and entertaining. Almost no scientific background is assumed; for example, chemical symbols are introduced and explained. A great strength of the book is that quite complex ideas, such as those concerned with chemical bonding or with the chemical formulae of complex minerals, are explained simply and lucidly without significant sacrifice of scientific accuracy. Often the historical development of a field is outlined in a way that helps in understanding, and good use is made of clear diagrams and tables, and of a set of 51 high-quality colour plates bound in as the centre pages of the volume. The high quality of writing provided by these two very experienced authors is, therefore, matched by a high quality of production." David J. Vaughan, source??? "...should accomplish its purpose: to appeal to people interested in natural history and curious about rocks and minerals." R.L. Langenheim, Jr., Journal of Geological Education "...the authors have succeeded in producing a diverse introduction to mineralogy and some related subjects that may be of interest to the amateur or professional geologist for its historical and nomenclatural anecdotes." Journal of Sedimentary Petrology


1. The mineral world; 2. Crystal realms;. Mineral chemistry; 4. Rocks; 5. Soils, dusts, and muds; 6. Ores and ore minerals; 7. Building materials; 8. Rocks and minerals in diverse environments; Appendices; Index.

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