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1B Earth Sciences - Reading Lists

This list summarises the key reference texts [that are mostly in print] that you may wish to use throughout your second year of geology. There may be other books and papers that are suggested for particular parts of the course that are not featured on this list. You should be able to find many of these books in your college libraries, or else in the Departmental library. You may (eventually) wish to consider purchasing those marked **.

Earth Sciences A


  • Fossen, H. 2010, Structural geology, Cambridge University Press, 480pp. Ebook
  • McClay, K. R. 2002. The mapping of geological structures. (2nd edition) Wiley, 224 pp.
  • Maltman, A. 1998. Geological maps: an introduction. (2nd Edition) Wiley 260 pp.
  • Park, R. G. 1997. Foundations of structural geology. (3rd edition) Chapman & Hall, 214 pp, reprinted 2005 by Routledge.



  • Allen, P.A. 1997, Earth Surface Processes. Blackwell, Oxford, 404p. ISBN 0-632-03507-2. Ebook
  • Cox A. & R.B. Hart. 1986. Plate Tectonics: How it works. Blackwell Scientific Publications. Ebook
  • ** C. Mary Fowler (2004). The Solid Earth, 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press. (An outstanding book covering a wide range of global geophysics. Will still be useful at Part II.)
  • Stein & Wysession (2003) An introduction to seismology, earthquakes and earth structure
    Alternative reading, covers much of the same subjects as Fowler
    Chapters 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 4.2, 4.4, 4.6, 4.7, 5.2-5.6


  • Lay, Thorne, et al. "The great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of 26 December 2004." Science 308.5725 (2005): 1127-1133.
  • Simons, Mark, et al. "The 2011 magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake: Mosaicking the megathrust from seconds to centuries." Science 332.6036 (2011): 1421-1425.
  • McKenzie, D. P., and W. Morgan. "Evolution of triple junctions." Nature 224 (1969): 125-133.



  • W.S. Broecker and T.H. Peng, Tracers in the sea; Eldigio Press, 1982, 690pp. Now out of print, but in many college libraries.
  • G. Faure, Principles of Isotope geology, 2nd edition, Wiley, 1986, 589pp. The standard text for an introduction to isotope systematics.
  • S.M. Libes, An introduction to marine biogeochemistry; Wiley, 1992, 734pp. 2Nd ed 2009 Ebook Covers some of the topics at a less advanced level.
  • Open University, Ocean chemistry and deep-sea sediments, Pergamon Press, 1989 and 1991 (also excellent coverage of basics)



  • Boggs, Sam, 2009. Petrology of sedimentary rocks. Cambridge University Press.
  • ** Bridge, J. and Demicco, R., 2008. Earth Surface Processes, Landforms and Sediment Deposits. Cambridge University Press. Leading text book on the subject.
  • ** Nichols, G. 1999. Sedimentology and stratigraphy. Blackwell Science, 355 pp. Excellent coverage for our courses on both Sedimentology and sedimentary basins. Ebook
  • Reading, H.G. (ed). 1996. Sedimentary environments: processes, facies and stratigraphy. 3rd edition. Blackwell. Ebook Encyclopaedic, reference.
  • Scoffin, T.P. 1987. An introduction to carbonate sediments and rocks. Blackie.
  • Stow, D.A.V. 2005. Sedimentary rocks in the field: A colour guide. Manson Publishing.
  • Tucker, M.E. 2001. An introduction to sedimentary petrology. 3rd edition. Blackwell. Ebook 



  • Armstrong, H.A. & Braiser, M.D. (2005).  Microfossils (2 nd  Edition). Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.
  • Briggs, D. E. G., and Crowther, P. R. 1990. Palaeobiology, a synthesis. Blackwell Scientific, Oxford. (Short essays on a wide range of palaeobiological topics)
  • Briggs, D.E.G., and Crowther, P.R. 2001. Palaeobiology II, A synthesis. Blackwell Scientific, Oxford. Ebook (Short essays on a wide range of palaeobiological topics)
  • ** Clarkson, E. N. 1998. Invertebrate palaeontology and evolution, 4th ed. Blackwell. Ebook  (A straightforward survey of the important fossil-forming invertebrates)
  • Futuyma, D. J. 2005 Evolution. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland (Massachusetts). 603 pp. A comprehensive and up to date text covering all aspects of evolutionary biology.
  • Lipps, J. H. (ed.) 1993. Fossil prokaryotes and protists. Blackwell Scientific, Boston. (Useful overview of the important fossil-forming protists)
  • Skelton, P. (ed.) 1993. Evolution, a biological and palaeontological approach. Addison-Wesley. Exhaustive coverage of evolutionary principles with a focus on the unique contribution of palaeontological data.



  • Benton, M.J. 2005. Vertebrate Palaeontology 3rd Edn. Blackwell. Ebook
  • Kemp, T.S. 2005. The origin and evolution of mammals. Oxford University Press. Ebook
  • Pough, F.H., Janis, C.M. & Heiser, JB., 2012. Vertebrate life. Pearson, 9th Edition. (Good stuff if you want to learn a little more about the nuts, bolts and biology of these critters - mix of living and fossil forms helps as well.)



  • Allen PA, Allen JR 2013, Basin Analysis: Principles and Application to Petroleum Play Assessment, Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Allen P.A., Allen John R. 2005, Basin analysis: Principles and Applications, Oxford Blackwell Pub, ISBN:9780632052073. 2Nd ed ebook. Good on general principles; more detail than you need, but with a useful chapter on petroleum near the end.
  • Busby, C.J. & Ingersoll, R.V. (eds) 1995 Tectonics of sedimentary basins. Blackwell Science, Oxford. (Takes a geological rather than mechanical view of basins. Useful chapters on basins in each main tectonic setting.)
  • Leeder, M. 1999. Sedimentology and sedimentary basins: from turbulence to tectonics. Blackwell Science, Oxford. Ebook (Mostly on sedimentology, but has a concise reliable treatment of basins at the end.)


Earth Sciences B


    • McClay, KR, 1991. The mapping of geological structures. Wiley. Useful for Part II mapping project.
    • Maltman, A. 1998. Geological Maps: an introduction (2 nd Edition). Wiley. For geological mapwork throughout the course.



    • **Allègre, CJ. 1992. From stone to star. Harvard University Press. An excellent read.
    • Lunine, J. 1998. Earth: evolution of a habitable world. Cambridge University Press.  Early chapters set the context for this course.
    • McSween, H.Y. 1999. Meteorites and their parent planets, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press.
    • Taylor, S.R. 1998. Destiny or chance: our solar system and its place in the cosmos. Cambridge University Press.



    • Battey, MH & Pring, A. Mineralogy for students. 3rd edition. Longman 1997. A modern revision of a long-standing text.
    • **Deer, WA, Howie, RA & Zussman, J, 2013. An introduction to the rock forming minerals. 3rd edition. Mineralogical Society. Otherwise known as “DHZ”. Excellent reference book, and you may take your own copy into the practical exam. This is the one book that you will use through the whole year. Note that a new edition came out in 2013.
    • Nesse, WD, 2003. Introduction to Optical Mineralogy. 3 rd Edition. Oxford University Press. Fine treatment of optics theory.
    • Perkins, D & Henke, KR, 2004. Minerals in thin section, Prentice Hall. Brief introductory text; good pictures of interference figures.
    • Putnis, A, 1992. Introduction to Mineral Sciences. Cambridge University Press. Good for much of this course. Read selectively!



    • Dickin, AP, 2005. Radiogenic isotope geology. (2 nd Edition) Cambridge University Press. More case studies and more up-to-date than Faure, but a bit more advanced.
    • Faure, G. Principles of isotope geology, Wiley, 1986. The long-standing introductory text to stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry.
    • Gill, R, 1996. Chemical fundamentals of geology. 2nd edition. Chapman and Hall. All the chemistry you had forgotten, and more, in an accessible form.
    • Rollinson, H., 1993. Using geochemical data: evaluation, presentation, interpretation. Longman Scientific and Technical. An advanced text book but useful for understanding how we use geochemistry to model igneous processes.



    • Barker, AJ, 1998. Introduction to metamorphic textures and microstructures. 2nd Edition. Thomson science (Chapman and Hall). A good general read on metamorphism, and an essential introduction to metamorphic textures and their interpretations.
    • Best, M.G. & Christiansen, E.H., 2001. Igneous Petrology. Blackwell Science. A good general igneous text book.
    • Blatt, H., Tracey, R.J., Owens, B.E., 2006. Petrology; igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic. 3rd Edition. (Freeman). Good general petrology textbook
    • Brown, GC, Hawkesworth, CJ & Wilson, RCL, 1992. Understanding the Earth. Cambridge University Press. Contains some excellent review chapters.
    • Cox, KG, Bell, JD & Pankhurst, RJ. 1979. The interpretation of Igneous Rocks. Chapman and Hall. Key text for phase diagrams and their interpretation.
    • Fowler, CMR, 2004. The solid earth. Cambridge University Press. Contains much of the geophysics that a petrologist should know.
    • Francis, PW.& Oppenheimer, Volcanoes, 2003. Oxford University Press. Readable and entertaining; a rare combination in a text book.
    • Fry, N. 1993. The field description of metamorphic rocks. Wiley. For fieldwork.
    • **Gill, R., 2010.Igneous Rocks & processes. Wiley. Highly recommended course text
    • McBirney, A.R., 2006. Igneous Petrology (3rd Edition). Jones & Bartlett. A good general igneous text book especially useful for phase diagrams and petrography.
    • Searle, M., 2013. Colliding Continents: A geological exploration of the Himalaya, Karakoram, and Tibet. Oxford University Press. At the same time a book of beautiful mountains as well as a good science overview of Himalayan geology.
    • Sigurdsson, H., ed, 1999. Encyclopedia of volcanoes. Academic Press. The volcano reference book.
    • Spear, FS, 1993. Metamorphic phase equilibria and pressure-temperature-time paths. Mineralogical Society of America Monograph. The ‘Big Blue Book’ - the metamorphic petrologists’ bible, and an essential reference text. Much more detail than you need – but it’s all there is!
    • Thorpe, RS & Brown, GC, 1985. The field description of igneous rocks. OU Press. For field and hand-specimen work.
    • Vernon, R.H., 2004. A practical guide to rock microstructure. Cambridge University Press. Outstanding on how to read the rock textures that you will see under the microscope.
    • Wilson M, 1989. Igneous Petrogenesis. Unwin and Hyman. Especially the first four chapters.
    • Yardley, BWD, 1989. An introduction to metamorphic petrology. Longman. Concise and clear introduction to metamorphic petrology.