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National Geographic Pocket Guide to Rocks and Minerals of North America (National Geographic Pocket Gde) [Paperback]

National Geographic

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Book Description

28 April 2014 National Geographic Pocket Gde
With this basic beginner's field guide to North American geology, anyone who enjoys nature and the outdoors can identify common rocks, gems, fossils, and land formations. In a logical, user-friendly, highly visual format, this new title - one of the growing series of National Geographic pocket guides - offers key facts about dozens of rocks and minerals, what distinguishes them, what makes a mineral a gem. The book also pictures and explains the fossils most likely to be found. Explanatory graphics help explain the basic land and rock formations that make up the North American landscape. With 160 entries, each formatted to provide clear language, carefully chosen photographs, and expertly drafted illustrations, this title is the perfect starting point for anyone, young or old, interested in the study of geology.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society (28 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426212828
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426212826
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 10.6 x 1.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,493,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very light reading, maybe targeted for the younger audience 9 April 2014
By Storm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This NatGeo Pocket Guide is a very mixed bag. The information on each specimen is very light, not containing much specific scientific data apart from the Mohs hardness. After a few pages on minerals and then rocks, the book randomly wanders off into fossils and "Structures and Landforms". Only about 87 pages are actually devoted to rocks and minerals, the rest is spent on fossils and various strata formations.

The best thing I can really say about this book is that the various pictures of the minerals and rocks are very nicely done, and include some nice museum quality examples. The small size of the book makes it much more pocket-worthy than some of the other guides.

However if you've got to pick only one book, this is still a far cry from the old standbys of National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals (National Audubon Society Field Guides) or A Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals (Peterson Field Guides). When I was a kid, the Simon & Schuster's Guide to Rocks & Minerals was always my first pick because they had the best pictures.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational book with superlative graphics. 21 April 2014
By Tom Brody - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
ROCKS AND MINERALS OF NORTH AMERICA by Sarah Garlick is a 182-page booklet printed on glossy paper. Every page has a 1/3-page color photograph of a mineral, rock, fossil, or landform. All of the mineral photos are close-up pictures of rocks. The corners of the book are rounded, in order to prevent for the formation of dog-ears during use in the field. The graphics of the book are first-rate, in terms of quality of the image and creativity of the layout of the images and text.

CHAPTERS. The book contains an introduction (pages 6-11), which provides definitions of minerals, gems, igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, metamorphic rocks, and fossils. There are photos of granite, where the granite is caused to be multi-colored because of polarized light. There is a photo of Kinta Lake in Montana, where thousands of colorful stones can be seen in the water by the edge of the lake. The chapters are:

Chapter 1. Minerals (pages 12-55).
Chapter 2. Rocks (pages 56-99).
Chapter 3. Fossils (pages 100-119).
Chapter 4. Structures and landforms (pages 120-171).

LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHS. The close-up photos are fine, but there are additional photographs, and these include landscapes, such as a photo of an igneous mountain (Cathedral Peak in Yosemite National Park) (page 61), an orange cliff made of syenite (page 62), a dark cliff with a white stripe made of diorite (p. 63), a dark spire made of gabbro (p. 64), a light gray cliff made of anorthoside in the Adirondacks (. 65), a light brown mountain made of peridotite (p. 66), a green mountain with snow, where the mountain is made of dunite (Dun Mountain in New Zealand)(p. 67), jagged spire made of rhyolite (p. 68), white cliff made of pumice (p. 69), valley containing obsidian (p. 70), light brown hill made of tuff (p. 71), Crater Lake National Park in Oregon with rock that is andesite (p. 73), jagged cliff made of diabase (p. 74), Devil's Postpile in the California Sierras, made of basalt (p. 75), and so on.

FOSSILS. The Fossils chapter has one page for each type of fossil, and these include petrified wood, graptolite, bryzoan, coral, trilobite, brachiopod, bivalve, plant fossils, gastropod fossil, and so on. Most of the fossil photos have a jet-black background. Each page has a 1/3-page photograph of the fossil, and the lower corner of each page has an alternate photo of the same type of fossil, printed on the white background of the page.

CONCLUSION. I was especially impressed by this book, in that it described many places where I've explored on weekends, and it detailed some of the rocks that have caught my attention over the past few decades. I have devoted myself to the obsidian at Glass Mountain, located just south of Fossil Beds National Monument in northern California. I have visited Crater Lake in Oregon on two occasions. I have visited Devil's Postpile, and have seen similar basalt formations in Oregon and on the Big Island of Hawaii. The book has a page on a landform called, "tafoni," and I have devoted three years of my life to photographing tafoni along the coast of northern California. The book includes a photo of Cathedral Peak in Yosemite, and I have taken the hike to Cathedral Peak. Cathedral Peak is arguably one of the ten most beautiful mountains in North America. The book has a page on sand dunes, and I have devoted two years of my life to photographic sand dunes in Death Valley National Park. Obviously, a book of such a modest size (182-pages) can only provide a sketchy introduction to the topic, but what a magnificent introduction we have here! My only criticism is that the book fails to identify the location of the rocks. The only reason why I was able to identify the locations of some of the landforms is because I have actually been to these places. In other words, without a disclosure of the locations of the photos, the book really cannot succeed as a teaching aid. Hopefully, the next edition of this book will disclose the locations.

I am not sure about the practical use of this book. I suppose that, if the novice finds an interesting rock or mineral in the book, he or she can use this as an inspiration to find more information about that particular topic from college textbooks, geologists, and naturalists employed by America's national parks, and so on. But the problem with this, is that finding information at the layperson's level, regarding geology, botany, animal ecology, and such, is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. Local libraries generally do NOT have this type of information. And college libraries do have lots of relevant information, but you require a Ph.D. in the topic to understand the info available from college libraries.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not comprehensive, but good book for a young beginner 5 May 2014
By Cookbook Gal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was a rock fanatic as a child, and I would have loved this book. It is small and light, making it easy to carry. It is not a comprehensive book, but it's not supposed to be, so if you have a rock hound in your family is intermediate to advanced, this is not the book for them. The paper quality and some of the photos are not the best, either.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Handy guide 26 April 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm not particularly interested in geology, but I do love minerals, and I was curious to learn how to better identify any I find when out hiking or walking along the beach. This guide is a good manual for someone like me. It provides background information and some technical details, but it's easy enough for the layperson to use.

The book is divided into sections: minerals, rocks, fossils, and structures & landforms. Each page of a section profiles one thing. For example, the section on minerals features one mineral per page. The top lists the mineral and its chemical composition, then gives a brief overview of the mineral and its uses. A box below that contains a picture of the mineral and some key facts (in the case of minerals: its hardness, streak, and locations). The text underneath the box gets more technical and will likely be of more interest to the technical folks than people who just want to know what mineral they're looking at. Still, if you're interested, it provides some facts about the element's makeup and its uses.

The guide itself is conveniently sized and shaped, and can be tucked into a backpack or even a large pocket on cargo/trekking pants. The back contains an alphabetical index, but if you don't know much about the subject, you'll probably have to do some flipping through the sections in an attempt to identify what it is you're seeing. It's handy, though, and I think the section on fossils in particular would be fun to use with any kids learning about them in science. The guide is probably a little too technical for an average ten-year-old, but it could be a good way for parents to engage in fossil treasure hunts with their kids.

Overall, I like the design and layout. It's very clear and easy to navigate, and I'm interested in exploring more National Geographic guides on other topics. Outdoor lovers will likely enjoy this guide and others like it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointed by content. 23 April 2014
By K. Kasabian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Yes, this is a guide to minerals in North America. But on the cover, it promises the reader "where to look" and if by "where," the writer means geographically (as I assumed), this book absolutely does not contain this information. The pictures are nice to look at, but as a pocket guide, I can't fathom how this would help the amateur collector or hobbyist. Not recommended.
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