A Brief Compendium of Geologic Curiosities
Princeton University Press, 2022, 200 pp., Hardcover. $16.95. www.press.princeton.edu
Geopedia is a trove of geologic wonders and the evocative terms that humans have devised to describe them. Featuring dozens of entries, from Acasta gneiss to Zircon, this illustrated compendium is brimming with lapidary and lexical insights that will delight rockhounds and word lovers alike. Geoscientists are magpies for words, and with good reason. The sheer profusion of minerals, landforms, and geologic events produced by our creative planet demands an immense vocabulary to match. Marcia Bjornerud shows how this lexicon reflects not only the diversity of rocks and geologic processes but also the long history of human interactions with them. With wit and warmth, she invites all readers to celebrate the geologic glossary, a gallimaufry of allusions to mythology, imports from diverse languages, embarrassing anachronisms, and recent neologisms. This captivating book includes cross-references at the end of each entry, inviting you to leave the alphabetic trail and meander through it like a river. With whimsical illustrations by Haley Hagerman, Geopedia is a mix of engaging and entertaining facts about how the earth works, how it has coevolved with life over billions of years, and how our understanding of the planet has deepened over time.