Geomedia offers each month's book reviews, list of new books, book ordering information and new maps. 

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U.S. Geological Survey Maps

On the Shelf

U.S. Geological Survey Maps

I-2763. MARS. Geologic map of MTM-45252 and -45257 quadrangles, Reull Vallis region of Mars by S.C. Mest and D.A. Crown. Prepared for NASA. 2003. Scale 1:1,004,000. One color sheet 43 X 39 inches. Available for $7.00 from Information Services.

MF-2401. HAWAII. Maps showing lava inundation zones for Mauna Loa, Hawaii by F.A. Trusdell, P. Graves, and C.R. Tincher. Prepared in cooperation with the County of Hawaii and FEMA. 2002. Ten color sheets with 12-page text. Available for $20.00 per sheet from USGS Information Services or free online.

MF-2403. CALIFORNIA. Geologic map and map database of northeastern San Francisco Bay region, California: Most of Solano County and parts of Napa, Marin, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Sacramento, Yolo, and Sonoma Counties by R.W. Graymer, D.L. Jones, and E.E. Brabb. 2002. Scale 1:100,000. One color sheet 46 X 36 inches with 28-page text. Available for $20.00 from Information Services or free online.

MF-2411. UTAH. Surficial geologic map of the Loop and Druid Arch quadrangles, Canyonlands National Park, Utah by G.H. Billingsley, D.L. Block, and T.J. Felger. Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service. 2002. Scale 1:24,000. One color sheet 32 X 51 inches. Available for $20.00 from Information Services or free online.

I-2668. NEVADA. Geologic map of the Izzenhood Spring quadrangle, Lander County, Nevada by D.A. John and C.T. Wrucke. 2002. Scale 1:24,000. One color sheet 37 X 33 inches. Available for $7.00 from Information Services or free online.

I-2738. COLORADO. Geologic and aeromagnetic maps of the Fossil Ridge area and vicinity, Gunnison County, Colorado by E. Dewitt, R.S. Zech, C.G. Chase, R.E. Zartman, R.P. Kucks, B. Bartelson, G.C. Rosenlund, and D. Earley, III. 2002. Scale 1:30,000. One color sheet 54 X 40 inches with 42-page text. Available for $7.00 from Information Services.

I-2773. MONTANA. Geologic map of the Hogback Mountain quadrangle, Lewis and Clark and Meagher Counties, Montana by M.W. Reynolds. 2002. Scale 1:24,000. One color sheet 48 X 40 inches. Available online.

To order USGS maps, contact USGS Information Services, P.O. Box 25286, Denver, CO, 80225. Phone: 888/ASK-USGS (888/275-8747).

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Randall Orndorff compiles the Maps section and is the associate program coordinator for the USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program. E-mail him at

On the Shelf

Rivers in Time: The Search for Clues to Earth’s Mass Extinctions by Peter D. Ward, Columbia University Press (2002). ISBN 0-231-11862-7. Paperback. $19.00

Peter Ward, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Washington, begins this update to his highly acclaimed End of Evolution with a scene from a coral reef in the southern Philippine Islands. Beneath 60 feet of crystal-clear water, he pulls a rock hammer through the carbonate sediments, revealing a thin layer of shattered skeletons of corals. The layer reminds him of the strata chronicling Earth’s three great mass extinctions, which he has spent his career studying. But this layer came from pulses of dynamite that fisherman used to efficiently harvest the waters. Throughout this 300-page paperback written for a general audience, Ward weaves personal stories together with paleontological research to bring to life the causes and consequences of Earth’s mass extinctions — and to suggest humanity’s rapid growth has wrought a fourth extinction that will shape the direction of evolution that follows.

Texas Earthquakes by Cliff Frohlich and Scott D. Davis, University of Texas Press (2003). ISBN 0-292-72551-5. Paperback. $24.95

On Oct. 25, 1989, the Los Angeles Daily News reported that Alpine, Texas, was the safest place in the country — in terms of staying out of the way of natural hazards. In 1995, the second largest earthquake in Texas history (magnitude 5.7) hit near Alpine. The authors, geologists who recently completed an evaluation of earthquake hazards for the Texas Division of Emergency Management, highlight Alpine to show that earthquakes — contrary to popular belief — do in fact occur in Texas. This entertaining book begins with Texas, but quickly expands its scope to examine the causes and impacts of earthquakes throughout the country, world and even on other planets. Cartoon pictures bring seismological concepts into easy grasp; one compares the forces generating earthquakes to a party trick used to open a champagne bottle. The book ends with a compendium of more than 100 recorded earthquakes in Texas from 1811 to 2000, briefly describing their location, timing and effects. But the danger, the authors conclude, is not great; most homeowners would be better off getting termite insurance than earthquake insurance.

Shoemaker by Levy: The Man Who Made an Impact by David H. Levy, Princeton University Press (2002). ISBN: 0-691-11325-4. Paperback. $16.95

In July 1994, the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter, to the delight of many astronomers and astrogeologists eager to study such an impact, and to a rapt general public. The comet was named after its three discoverers — David Levy, a writer and amateur astronomer, geologist Eugene Shoemaker, and his wife, Carolyn, also an astronomer. The trio became good friends after spending countless hours at the telescope. In this paperback for a general audience, Levy chronicles the life of his good friend and cutting-edge thinker Eugene Shoemaker. With respect and admiration, Levy describes Shoemaker’s childhood, early academic successes, courtship of his wife (who was also his long-term scientific partner), and later professional work centered on a single theme: to explore and explain the ways that comets and asteroids have substantially affected the course of life on Earth.

Islands of the Arctic by Julian Dowdeswell and Michael Hambrey, Cambridge University Press (2002). ISBN 0-521-81333-6. Hardback. $38.00.

Every page of this full-color hardback contains a stunning picture of the Arctic islands — whether it be a close-up of undulating layers of sandstone and mudstone, or a sweeping view of sea ice in the Hornsund fjord. The authors, both glaciologists, have together logged more than 40 seasons of fieldwork in the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Svalbard and the Russian Islands, exploring by foot, helicopter and nuclear-powered ice breakers. The pictures complement clear explanations of the region’s geography, and the geologic forces that have, over the past 4 billion years, shaped this magnificent landscape.

Compiled by Greg Peterson

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