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Understanding Ethiopia: Geology and Scenery

  • Comprises the first comprehensive guide to Ethiopian geology and geoheritage for non-specialists
  • Includes a glossary of geological terms for the non-specialist traveller
  • Fascinates with numerous color photographs

Series: GeoGuide

By: Frances M Williams(Author)

343 pages, 231 colour photos and illustrations


Paperback | Dec 2015 | #213807 | ISBN-13: 9783319021799
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1 week Details
NHBS Price: £32.99 $46/€37 approx

About this book

Understanding Ethiopia is a detailed description of Ethiopia's geological story and enables non-specialist readers to share the author's thrill at gaining a deeper insight into the processes which produced, and continue to shape, this amazing country. Ethiopia's spectacular landscapes, ranging from mountains over 4 500 m high to salt plains 150 m below sea level, are a reflection of the geological processes that formed the country. Indeed, its history and the historical sites, for which it is renowned, are largely determined by geology. Readers learn why and how Ethiopia's geology is both unique and dynamic, as here the earth's crust is in the process of breaking apart.


- Introduction
- Setting the scene: Ethiopia today
- Beginnings: The First Billion Years
- Rocks and landforms of the south and west
- The far north: Axum and beyond
- The Early and Middle Years: Ice, Sea and Sand
- The great gorges: slices through time
- The rocks, landforms and hidden churches of Tigray
- The Onset of Turbulent Times
- The Ethiopian highlands: uplift and volcanoes
- The geology and churches of Lalibela
- The Semien and Bale Mountains
- The Break-up of a Continent
- The Rift Valley southwards, from Nazret to Lake Chamo
- The Rift Valley northwards, from Nazret to Awash
- The margins of the Rift Valley and the great Western Escarpment
- Southern Afar: lava fields, earthquakes and the birthplace of mankind
- The Birth of an Ocean
- Northern Afar: live volcanoes, earthquakes and the beginnings of a new ocean
- Conclusion
- Ethiopia in the future
- Glossary
- Bibliography / Recommended Reading
- Index

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Frances Williams taught Geology at Addis Ababa University from 1969 to 1976. During that time she travelled throughout Ethiopia, exploring its geology with her students, mapping volcanoes, and investigating the effects of earthquakes. Now relocated to Australia she visits Ethiopia frequently, and has authored and co-authored a number of guidebooks and brochures on localities of geological interest.

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