Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A New Book On The Geological Evolution Of India

In the latest issue of Current Science, C.P. Rajendran reviews a new book by K. S. Valdiya on the geological evolution of India titled: The Making of India: Geodynamic Evolution.

Prof. K.S. Valdiya has reached a stage in his career where the term "Grand Old Man of Indian Geology" is an entirely appropriate title for him. His deep expertise lies in the geology of the Himalayan mountain chain, but this book is a broader synthesis from Archean times to recent.

I have to admit I found earlier books which synthesized Indian geology in one volume quite disappointing and the review mentions a couple of them. They rambled on and on about formation names and local lithology types and fossils. Written in the days before plate tectonics and geophysical data about the Indian subsurface, the approach was descriptive or one that relied on concepts and terminology that was no longer part of current thinking.

Plate tectonics started appearing in geology textbooks by the early mid 1970's. I graduated in the late 1980's. That there was no textbook which discussed Indian geology within the framework of global plate tectonics more than a decade on is a telling reminder of how slow educational content has been in catching up with the latest developments in the field. Going by C.P. Rajendran's review there was still until 2010 no textbook incorporating all this essential content!

Forty years on, looks like this book will remove that lacuna.

Price is Rs 242/- ( ~$ 5/-) for a 816 page book, courtesy a generous subsidy from the Indian government. It is not yet listed on Amazon and likewise other online sellers. You might have to order it from the publishers Macmillan Publishers India Ltd.

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