Books  Habitats & Ecosystems  Coasts & Islands 

Surf, Sand, and Stone: How Waves, Earthquakes, and Other Forces Shape the Southern California Coast

By: Keith Heyer Meldahl(Author)

240 pages, 68 colour & 18 b/w illustrations, 1 table

University of California Press

Hardback | Oct 2015 | #224526 | ISBN-13: 9780520280045
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £23.99 $31 / €27 approx

About this book

Southern California is sandwiched between two tectonic plates with an ever-shifting boundary. Over the last several million years, movements of these plates have dramatically reshuffled the Earth's crust to create rugged landscapes and seascapes riven with active faults. Movement along these faults triggers earthquakes and tsunamis, pushes up mountains, and lifts sections of coastline. Over geologic time, beaches come and go, coastal bluffs retreat, and the sea rises and falls. Nothing about Southern California's coast is stable.

Surf, Sand, and Stone tells the scientific story of the Southern California coast: its mountains, islands, beaches, bluffs, surfing waves, earthquakes, and related phenomena. Surf, Sand, and Stone takes readers from San Diego to Santa Barbara, revealing the evidence for how the coast's features came to be and how they are continually changing.

With a compelling narrative and clear illustrations, Surf, Sand, and Stone outlines how the coast will be altered in the future and how we can best prepare for it.

"Meldahl takes the reader on a tour of coastal Southern California, deftly explaining its complex geologic history, coastal geology, surfing spots, and the processes that shape them. Richly illustrated and told with great humor and enlightening analogies, Surf, Sand, and Stone is easily accessible yet contains valuable resources for those who want to delve deeper."
– Mark Johnsson, staff geologist, California Coastal Commission

"How refreshing to discover a book about Southern California's complex geology that is written for those of us who want to learn, but who do not have a strong background in this field. I'll take this excellent guide with me whenever I go exploring."
– Joan Easton Lentz, author of A Naturalist's Guide to the Santa Barbara Region

"Surf, Sand, and Stone is an entertaining and very readable explanation of the complex geology and oceanography of the Southern California coast. Meldahl must be an excellent teacher as he has a real gift for writing about complex topics in a comfortable, engaging, and fascinating manner."
– Gary Griggs, Director, Institute of Marine Sciences, UC Santa Cruz



1. Time, Faults, and Moving Plates: A Recipe for Southern California
2. Tsunamis
3. Earthquakes
4. Disassembling Southern California
5. Waves and Surfing
6. Beaches and Coastal Bluffs
7. Sea-Level Changes and the Ice Ages

Appendix: Seeing for Yourself
Notes on Sources

Write a review

There are currently no reviews for this book. Be the first to review this book!


Keith Heyer Meldahl is Professor of Geology and Oceanography at Mira Costa College and the author of two popular books, Hard Road West and Rough-Hewn Land (UC Press, 2011).

Bestsellers in this subject

Rocky Shores

Pre-pub offer: £29.99 £34.99 (Save £5.00) $39 / €34 approx

Messages from Islands

NHBS Price: £24.50 $31 / €28 approx

The Essential Guide to Beachcombing and the Strandline

NHBS Price: £16.99 $22 / €19 approx

Inventory of Eelgrass Beds in Devon and Dorset 2004

NHBS Price: £22.10 inc VAT $28 / €25 approx

The Biology of Mediterranean-Type Ecosystems

NHBS Price: £37.99 $49 / €43 approx

VAT: GB 407 4846 44
NHBS Ltd is registered in England and Wales: 1875194