Thursday, November 1, 2012
Paleogeographic Maps Are Fabulous
Think of the nerdiest comic book fan drooling over his favorite graphic novel - that's how I look when I have this book in my hands. As a geology student who lives in Arizona, I have good reason to be such a geek. Every time I visit the Colorado Plateau, I have a thousand questions about how the strata formed. This book answers most of those questions, and illustrates those answers beautifully with diagrams, cross-section charts, photographs, and "paleogeographic maps." Those maps allow the reader to see what the area may have looked like in the past, from the last part of the Precambrian Era, 1.7 billion years ago, through the Mesozoic with its dinosaurs, to the the Cenozoic and our present epoch. If you've ever tried to visualize the supercontinents, or what the Four Corners area may have looked like when it was turned on its side and hugging the equator, the paleogeographic maps are hugely helpful.
Readers who are more interested in archaeology will gain some perspective as to why the ruins in the Southwest are unique - we've got the perfect strata for canyons, creeks, and cliff dwellings. And anyone who would like more background on the geology of their favorite National Park on the Colorado Plateau will find this book handy. As for me, I'm a happy geek pouring over the details of how each layer was formed and where it's exposed in this landscape I love so much. I will refer to this book again again, until it falls apart and I have to get another one. It's money well spent.