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The launch of a new practical book series: Geoscience in Practice

Angela Coe and Caroline Astley explain how this new book series will enhance the sharing of practical geological expertise and experience

1 December 2022

Lower Jurassic strata near Kilve, Somerset, UK. These strata contain ammonites and record Milankovitch cycles that can be used for biostratigraphy and cyclostratigraphy, respectively. Both of these methods are covered in the first volume Deciphering Earth’s History: the Practice of Stratigraphy

Geoscience in Practice – a brand-new series for the Geological Society of London – officially launched this November with the release of its first volume, Deciphering Earth’s History: the Practice of Stratigraphy. The series is focused on providing step-by-step, pragmatic advice on applying geological techniques, and aims to fill both a niche in the market and capture the expertise of the Society and other geoscientists.

Each book will be written by experts in the field from academia, industry, and government bodies. The series is specifically designed to assist the next generation of geoscientists in the application of geoscience theory and support fellow professionals who are working outside their specialist field or are retraining.

In this series we are rethinking the old phrase ‘the best geologists are those who have been in the field the most’ because, to us, the opportunity to learn from others and put theory into practice often creates the most significant advancements. Also, being able to understand the details, advantages and limitations of geological methods is increasingly important as areas of the subject become more specialist and the number of disciplines required for a successful geoscience project increases.

Effective design for a practical approach

The design of the series has been developed to display information in the most effective way. This includes using an A4 size to give ample space for tables and figures, as well as wide margins for checklists and ‘top tips’. Critical information is displayed in lists that, along with the use of subheadings, optimise accessibility.

Where relevant, the books will take a step-by-step approach and use flow charts to illustrate methods. The design includes a style for worked examples throughout the text that demonstrate the utility of techniques and how to overcome common challenges. The end of chapter reference lists will include key texts and recommended further reading, with online resources provided via Figshare.

The first volume

Geology without stratigraphy would be like life without a clock. Our first volume, Deciphering Earth’s History: the Practice of Stratigraphy, describes how to unravel the mysteries of stratigraphy, apply the wide spectrum of stratigraphical techniques available, and use the data to solve geological problems. This volume was written by the Society’s Stratigraphy Commission and invited colleagues.

The early chapters and bulk of the book range from fundamental methods (lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, chemostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, geophysical logs, seismic stratigraphy) to genetic methods (sequence stratigraphy, cyclostratigraphy, climate stratigraphy, morphostratigraphy). A chapter on detecting and understanding hiatuses in the rock record follows, before attention is drawn to chronostratigraphy, constructing geological timescales, radio-isotopic dating, digital archiving and using stratigraphical data. The final two chapters further explore the integration of data and the application of stratigraphy to everything from engineering and forensics to understanding other planets. Further details are available at: www.geolsoc.org.uk/gip001

For more information or to propose a volume for this series, please contact Angela or Caroline. Further information about the series can be found at www.geolsoc.org.uk/gip.

Angela L. Coe, Editor of Geoscience in Practice, Chair of the Stratigraphy Commission and Professor of Sedimentary Geology at the Open University, UK. Angela.Coe@open.ac.uk

Caroline Astley, Associate Commissioning Editor, Geological Society Publishing House, UK. Caroline.Astley@geolsoc.org.uk

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