A blast of earth, wind and fire

February 27, 2004

This book is a welcome addition to the growing number of undergraduate texts on geochemistry. It differs from more conventional and heavyweight texts, such as K. Krauskopf's Geochemistry , by delivering a wide range of subject matter in bite-sized chunks. To say the book is concise is an understatement. In ten chapters - or 248 pages including eight appendices, references and index - we blaze across the discipline, from geochronology and aqueous and marine geochemistry to the solar system and beyond.

Each chapter is a book in its own right and if a criticism is to be levelled it must be at the often extreme brevity of subject coverage. Against this is the undeniable breadth of material on offer. In particular, Francis Albarède does a good job of introducing students to basic concepts in transport theory, residence times and forcing essential for an appreciation of geochemical systems.

Geochemistry is a discipline on the move, driven not only by new theory and applications, but also technology. To this end, an appendix on analytical methods is a useful addition. Accompanying exercises can be accessed through the author's website. In summary, this is an effective entry-level text that deserves to be widely read.

Nick Petford is reader in geology, Kingston University.


Geochemistry: An Introduction. First edition

Author - Francis Albarède
Publisher - Cambridge University Press
Pages - 248
Price - £65.00 and £24.99
ISBN - 0 521 81468 5 and 89148 5

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