Thursday, December 13, 2018

Books: Colliding Continents And Reading The Rocks

These two beauties came by mail!

Readers know that I have been traveling and writing about the Himalaya the past few years. I had gone to Delhi in 2010 to attend a wedding and casually asked my cousin whether he could recommend a trip to the Himalaya. After the wedding I ended up in Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand for a short stay. I was hooked and have been going regularly since. I realized that I knew almost nothing about Himalaya geology. My Masters course in Pune had barely touched the surface. There were no Himalaya geology experts among the faculty and that showed in the minimal attention it was given in the syllabus. After all these years,  I decided to use my trekking trips to observe the local geology and teach myself about the geological architecture of the Himalaya.  I have been reading from the research literature too. After 6 years of trekking, field observations and reading I can say that I do have a broad understanding of the lithology and structure of the Uttarakhand Himalaya. Mike Searle's book, based on his 30 years of field and lab work in the High Himalaya and Tibet, covering almost the entire mountain chain from the western extremity in Pakistan to Bhutan and the Indo-Myanmar ranges in the east, is going to add enormously to my understanding of the details of the geological processes in operation at the zone of collision between India and Asia and how they formed this enormous mountain belt.

Marcia Bjornerud's book comes highly recommended from my Twitter friends and colleagues. It tells the story of the earth by delving in to and elucidating the basic geological processes in operation on the surface and in the interior of the planet. I have been actively pursuing geology outreach for over a decade now, through my blog mainly, but more recently by taking people out in the field and conversing with them about the rocks we see around us and their place in the geologic history of the earth. I have been trying hard to improve my ability to explain basic concepts in an easy to understand language. I have a feeling this fine book will help me refine that skill.

I will be posting my thoughts and some excerpts from these two books from time to time.


  1. Grabbed the Searle book from the U library after seeing your tweet. I like the mix of geology, history of geology and other stories ... and the outstanding photos, like the full page photo of the huge face of Nanga Parbat! Thx for recommending

  2. yeah, just started it. excited! :)

  3. Where did you order the Searle book from? Can you suggest some good books on field works in the Himalayas?

    1. Rajeev- from Amazon. don't know of any specific books on Himalaya fieldwork. You might try going to the Wadia Institute of Himalaya Geology website. They may have some reading material.