1st Edition

California's Amazing Geology

ISBN 9780367872007
Published December 12, 2019 by CRC Press
496 Pages

USD $69.95

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Book Description

California has some of the most distinctive and unique geology in the United States. It is the only state with all three types of plate boundaries, an extraordinary history of earthquakes and volcanoes, and it has many rocks and minerals found nowhere else. The Golden State includes both the highest and lowest point in the continental US and practically every conceivable geological feature known. This book discusses not only the important geologic features of each region in California, but also the complex geologic four-dimensional puzzle of how California was assembled, beginning over 2 billion years ago. The author provides up-to-date and authoritative review of the geology and geomorphology of each geologic province, as well as recent revelations of tectonic history of California’s past. There are separate chapters on some of California’s distinctive geologic resources, including gold, oil, water, coastlines, and fossils. An introductory section describes basic rock and mineral types and fundamental aspects of plate tectonics, so that students and other readers can make sense of the bizarre, wild, and crazy jigsaw puzzle that is California's geological history.

Table of Contents

Fundamentals of Geology. Amazing California (overview of California in terms of size, population, resources and exceptional features). Minerals and Rocks (overview of minerals and the three classes of rocks). Tectonics (essentials of plate tectonics). Seismology and California’s Faults and Earthquakes (basics of seismology and earthquakes; California’s faults and quake history). Dating California (basic principles of stratigraphy and geochronology). Regions of California. The Cascades and Modoc Plateau. The Sierra Nevada. The Klamath Mountains. The Peninsular Ranges and Salton Trough. The Basin and Range. The Great Valley. The Northern Coast Ranges. The Central Coast Ranges and Salinian Block. The Transverse Ranges. California’s Coastal Geology. Summary: Geologic History of California. California’s Economic Resources and Environment. California Gold and the Gold Rush. California Oil. Other Resources. Water in California. California’s Environment.

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Donald R. Prothero taught college geology and paleontlogy for 37 years at Caltech, Columbia, Cal Poly Pomona and Ocidental, Knox, Vassar, Glendale, Mt San Antonio, and Pierce Colleges.


"The amazing story of California's rich geologic diversity--from the San Andreas to Mt. Shasta from Yosemite to Death Valley, from the Gold Rush to the water wars--comes to life in Don Prothero's new book. Students will find the complexity of California's geology made clear and accessible here, in a way that makes readers hungry to visit the spectacular places described in this book."

Steven Newton
Professor of Geology
College of Marin


"There are three things you need to know about this book. First, it covers everything pretty completely … Second, it is very up to date … [and] Third, it is written by Don Prothero … [thus] complicated and nuanced scientific topics are explained in a way that a reasonably educated non-expert can understand."

Greg Laden post on Scienceblogs.com