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GEOLOGY - THE SCIENCE OF EARTH

 

Geology is an important science subject.  It falls within board and all-encompassing definition of the term 'Arts' used by IGNCA.  This column takes a look some of the books available on geology in IGNCA library and its own publication.

How to known the Minerals and Rocks by Richard M. Pearl: is a practical field guide to more than 125 of the most important minerals and rocks, including gems, ores, native metals, meteorities and interesting members of mineral kingdom.  It is simplified, authoritative, and up to date-written for the layman and for beginner and amateur collector.  Even many fairly advanced collectors of minerals are unable to recognize by name the commonest rocks, because of their diverse appearance and the lack of definite tests for them. 

The chapter 'Four keys to Recognizing Rocks' makes it easy to identify the chief types by a simple but systematic procedure.  Similarly, the 'Seven Keys to Recognizing Minerals' enables, the new collector to become acquainted quickly with the important minerals, which make up the majority of those he will come across in this fascinating and fast growing hobby.

Moreover, no special skill in needed to make the test, and no equipment other than a pocket knife, a common magnet, a piece of broken porcelain, a piece of glass, a copper coin, a piece of quartz, and some vinegar.  Each description of a mineral and rock is accompanied by a drawing which brings out clearly the typical appearance and the characteristics by which the mineral and rock can be recognized.  Scientific words are explained when first used.  It is a handbook for rock collector.

Text book on Geology by P.K. Mukherjee: This publication makes an attempt to discuss the fundamental principles of all the different branches of the subject in such a manner as to enable the beginner to gradually acquire a reasonably good standard of basic knowledge of geology.  Geology is the science of the earth.  To study the earth, as a whole, in all its aspects one has to take recourse to many other allied sciences.  Each individual chapter in the book deals with a particular branch of the subject and the extent of treatment branch of the subject and the extent of treatment is expected to fulfill the requirement for the 3-year Degree course (pass course) in Geology in Indian Universities.

THE SACRED EARTH by B.L. Molyneaux: The landscape itself has often been at the heart of our quest to make sense of existence - from the Earth mysteries of the Celts to the modern concept of Gaia, which redefines the plantet's biosphere as a self-regulating system.  This book traces intriguing connection within the board tradition that perceives the Earth as a reservoir of energy of spiritual power.

The scope embraces Eastern concepts such as dragon pathways and the practice of feng shui, as well as Western notions such as dowsing.  Manmade structures are included where the basic components come directly from the Earth: thus, there is a generous coverage of stone circles, pyramids and other ancient remains.  Practices such as geomancy are described, as well as religious beliefs relating to the landscape, from the sacred springs of the classical world to Aboriginal ideas of the Dreamtime.

A wealth of colour photographs provides a representative selection of the world's most mysterious places, with an authoritative, thoroghly accessible commentary on their significance.  At the back of the book, the documentary reference section on tinted paper includes a directory of natural phenomena and a glossary of specialist terms.

Pleistocene Studies in the Malaprabha Basin by R.V. Joshi.  This book is a result of an intense survey of an area covering 160 km. out the total 320 km of the Malaprabha river in Karnataka.  It is considered the first systematic and comprehensive account of Early Man of Karnataka and his environment.  In the survey, 20 sites were located and over 900 tool specimens were collected from all these sites.  At more than half a dozen places, the artifacts were recovered "in situ" from the undisturbed gravel-conglomerate.  The objective of the book is to study environment by the application of geological methods; and, secondly, identification and classification (typology) of the palaeolithic tools including a comparison of the Karnataka artifacts with similar finds other regions of India and corresponding foreign types.

Geology, Meterology and Ethnology of  Meghalya by Thomas Oldham: This book is one of the earliest authentic reference tools and a valuable source book of immense research utility on the North Eastern Frontier of India.  It deals with geography, geology, anthropology, ethnology and meteorology of the region.  The author who was holding the post of the Superintendent of the Geological Survey of India, went in 1851 to Chirapoonjee, which is famous for the heaviest rainfall in the world.  The areas has a rich mineral wealth, particularly the iron ores, which had for many ages been worked on in these hills.  The book records how the working of local mines was given on a perpetual lease, by Soobah Singh, the then Raja of Chirapoonjee, to the British government on a nominal royalty of Rs. 1 for every 100 maunds according to an agreement signed by the Raja with British power on 20th April, 1840.

Geology of Himalayas by E.T.Atkinson: is a book reprinted from the original book 'The Himalayan Districts of the North Western Provinces of India' published in 1882.  It deals with the Sivalik Hills, Kashmir, Kumaon, Garhwal, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan.  The book offers an introduction to the region, discussing various aspects, the physical geography of the Himalayas, meterology, economic mineralogy, geology and the mountain system.  The chapter on economic mineralogy deals with various mines and their history and method.  The Himalayas with its glaciers is discussed in detail in the last chapter.  Being one of the oldest books, the details naturally pertain to the dates before depredation by Man.

Gravity Field, Seismicity and Tectonics by R.K. Verma: is a pioneering work on the subject.  It deals in detail with Isostasy, a major phenomenon which is of world-wide interest and can be studied through analysis of gravity of field.  Nature of isostatic compensation prevailing over mountain ranges, plateaus and hill masses over Southern Peninsula of India has been discussed.  Gravity field over the Himalayas has been dealt with to the extent possible and ideas concerning the state of its isostatic compensation of various types of loads have been outlined in terms of characteristics of the underlying lithosphere.  In order to give an overall view of gravity field over Indian Peninsula, the Himalayas and the surrounding regions such as the Indian Ocean.  Tibetan plateau and the Hindu Kush mountains, the geoid undulation and the free-air anomaly maps prepared from satellite gravity data have been presented and interpreted IGNCA Publication on Geology.

Geology and Mineralogy by A.K.Coomaraswamy:  This book contains Coomaraswamy's contribution to the subject.  The material in the volume has been arranged in three sections; the first contains his articles on geology and mineralogy of Ceylon published in scientific journals;  the second includes the classic Ceylon Administrative Report which he wrote in 1903-06; and the final section is mainly concerned with several comments on Coomaraswamy's work which highlight his reputation as a mainstream geologist.  Coomaraswamy was appointed as the first Director of the Mineralogical Survey of Ceylon in 1903.  During the next four years, he undertook extensive fieldwork studying the contour, nature of the soil and the mineral wealth of the island.  The four Administrative Reports that he issued during 1903-06 are considered to be classic on account of the varied wealth of information contained in them covering a wide range of geological, mineralogical and petrological subjects.  His greatest contribution to Geology was his discovery of the mineral Thorianite in 1904.  It was characteristic of Coomaraswamy's self effacement thare instead of immortalizing his name he preferred to name it Thorianite. The book was reviewed in Vihangama, Volume III 2001.

 

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