Customer Reviews for

Rocks and Minerals (Smithsonian Handbooks Series)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2001

    Great for Identifying Rocks and Minerals!

    When I took Geology in college, I loved the course. I only had one problem. It was very difficult for me to identify rocks and minerals in the field. If I had had this pocket field guide, the course would have been a snap. Now, I enjoy taking my children to study outcroppings, and this book will be a great addition to our investigations. First, the photographs are stunning. In fact, any temptation I might have had to develop my own samples is set aside by having these wonderful images to use. Second, the information is detailed and thorough. There is a lot about the crystalline structure of each mineral, the hardness, and many tests that are specific to that particular mineral. There is a very good section that describes how to apply the hardness tests (I always had trouble memorizing that area for some reason). There is plenty of good safety information for how to use the various acids that can be employed to identify minerals. Everything is nicely summarized so it is easy to find. Third, all those subtle distinctions about various kinds of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks that used to puzzle me are very clear here. Whew! Fourth, the book has great directions for locating good spots to examine rocks. Fifth, you also receive a wonderful description of the equipment you need, and ways to use it safely. Whether you think you like rocks or not, you should give this book a try. It will open up a very interesting world full of ways to locate and identify interesting rocks and understand the stories they can tell. As a result, you will have immensely more understanding of the world around you. I also suggest that you read up on plate mechanics as well, so that you understand more about how the landscape is formed before erosion takes over. The combined knowledge of these two areas will greatly add to your understanding and appreciation of evolution. Get in touch with the physical world around you as foundation knowledge! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2015

    Introduction- The introduction of the book was just an overview

    Introduction-
    The introduction of the book was just an overview of the book itself, A Living Planet, Active Earth, Origins of Life and Human Impact. The beginning of the book is pretty self explanatory, it was just about how the beginning of the book begins with an introduction that explains the Earth's structure and geological processes. The section of "A Living Planet" gave vital information about why the placement of the Earth in the solar system is so important and also talked about Earth's layers as well as Earth's structure. The section "Active Earth" informed the reader of plate tectonics and how tectonics have changed how Earth is today. The section also talks about weathering and erosion, and how weathering creates the dramatic landscapes such as the rocks in the canyons. Next is the section of "Origins of Life", where the reader learns about how early life on Earth began, and how their was fossil life that originated from over 3.8 billion years ago. The last section, "Human Impact", discusses the environmental change on Earth as well as extinction, and how these two factors are constantly changing.




    Minerals-
    The second part of the book is all about Minerals. The reader learns all about native elements, sulfides, sulfosalts, oxides, hydroxides, halides, carbonates & nitrates, borates, sulfats & chromates, as well as molybdates and tungstates. The book contains information on native elements such as arsenic, antimony, nickel-iron, copper, diamond, graphite, platinum, sulfur and many more. There's a picture of each and the reader obtains knowledge from each mineral due to a informative bio of each mineral. The sulfides contained in the book are minerals like cinnabar, cobaltite, galena, stibnite, bornite, chalcopyrite, acanthite, and many more. The pictures are very clear and breath taking quality, so it makes reading about them just that more interesting. Next up is Sulfosalts, which contains again a long list of minerals such as jamesonite, stephanite, tetrahedrite, enargite, tennantite and bournonite. I'm not going to get into detail of the others just because it's the same as the several before, and interesting bio of the minerals and it's really interesting to see what categories minerals are obtained in.




    Rocks-
    The third section of this book was all about rocks. The sections were divided into Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary. Igneous Rocks are rocks that solidify from a molten state and are broadly divided into ectrusive volcanic rocks and intrusive rocks. Rocks such as porphyritic basalt, amygdaloidal basalt, vesicular basalt, basalt, pahoehoe and many more are beauitfully photographed and commented on in rich detail. It's honestly cool learning about how rocks are formed the way they are and what rock fits into what category. Metamorphic rocks were all different shapes and sizes, and this book just proved how there are so many diverse rocks that ultimately and oddly enough, relate to one another. The book discussed metamorhpic rocks such as fulgurite, halleflinta, quartzite, eclogite, skarn and many more. These rocks all looked relate-able in one way or another which I found interesting since they come from all different places around the world. The last part of this section was sedimentary rocks; which are rocks that result from deposition of sediment laid down by wind, water, and ice on the Earth's surface, and its subsequent burial. Rocks such as limonitic sandstone, sandstone, greensand, loess, claystone, boulder clay, lignite, and many more were placed into the sedimentary rock category.




    Fossils-
    The fourth as well as last section of this book was all about Fossils. The section was split into three different parts, plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. I've learned about all of these in previous science classes, but it was informative to get a review of everything. Fossil plants was a very interesting part of the book. Plants are among the first organisms to appear in the fossil record, creating a sort of ancient sense put into this section. Plant fossils such as lepidodendron root, magnolia leaf, climbing horsetail, oak tree trunk and more. Fossil invertebrates are consumed in the next section, which are fossils of invertebrates, which are animals without solid internal skeletons. They are among the first common fossils found, and they first apperared in the precambrian. Fossil invertebrates such as the sea urchins and ammonites are just a couple that were mentioned in this book. The last part of this section was Fossil Vertebrates, which are fossils of animals with hard solid internal skeletons. Fossil vertebrates such as the primitive frog, lobe-finned fish, and much more are involved in this book and described to all be pretty rare to find.




    Book Review:




    For the APES independent reading assignment I decided to read the book Smithsonian Natural History Rocks and Minerals...The Definitive Visual Guide. I chose to read a book about rocks and minerals because ever since I was a little girl I was really interested in why rocks are the color that they are and always wondered where they came from. I learned a lot from reading this book as well as re-reading some facts that I already knew from previous science classes, so overall it was a good learning experience. The book is very informative, and the pictures are amazing quality so it makes it a little more fun to learn about these rocks and minerals instead of reading about rocks and minerals with boring black and white pictures. I enjoyed how the book was divided into separate sections, which made it a lot easier to read and understand what I was reading. Although I could not find my book on any of the websites listed, it is an excellent book that is great for teaching anyone of any age about rocks and minerals. I really enjoyed the fossils collection, because when I learned even more about fossil plants I got so interested and it's cool to think about how the Earth works the way it does. I learned a lot of interesting, unique facts about how minerals and rocks were found in the ocean at first, and it was interesting to see where each rocks/minerals habitat was located. I enjoyed how the books layout was kind of messy, because it wasn't in the boring paragraph after paragraph format that books typically are. I would recommend this book to someone that wants to learn about the complexity as well as simplicity to rocks and minerals, and the book never got boring so I actually enjoyed reading it! 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Rocks and Minerals Review

    The book provides good illustrations and wide variety of rocks and minerals. Gives good information about the origin of the rocks and minerals.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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