Assembling California

Assembling California

Book - 1993
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Baker & Taylor
Drawing on his travels along the fault lines of the earth's shifting plates, the author discusses how a half dozen large pieces of country have drifted from far and near to coalesce as California

McMillan Palgrave
At various times in a span of fifteen years, John McPhee made geological field surveys in the company of Eldridge Moores, a tectonicist at the University of California at Davis. The result of these trips is Assembling California, a cross-section in human and geologic time, from Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada through the golden foothills of the Mother Lode and across the Great Central Valley to the wine country of the Coast Ranges, the rock of San Francisco, and the San Andreas family of faults. The two disparate time scales occasionally intersect—in the gold disruptions of the nineteenth century no less than in the earthquakes of the twentieth—and always with relevance to a newly understood geologic history in which half a dozen large and separate pieces of country are seen to have drifted in from far and near to coalesce as California. McPhee and Moores also journeyed to remote mountains of Arizona and to Cyprus and northern Greece, where rock of the deep-ocean floor has been transported into continental settings, as it has in California. Global in scope and a delight to read, Assembling California is a sweeping narrative of maps in motion, of evolving and dissolving lands.


Holtzbrinck
At various times in a span of fifteen years, John McPhee made geological field surveys in the company of Eldridge Moores, a tectonicist at the University of California at Davis. The result of these trips is Assembling California, a cross-section in human and geologic time, from Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada through the golden foothills of the Mother Lode and across the Great Central Valley to the wine country of the Coast Ranges, the rock of San Francisco, and the San Andreas family of faults. The two disparate time scales occasionally intersect—in the gold disruptions of the nineteenth century no less than in the earthquakes of the twentieth—and always with relevance to a newly understood geologic history in which half a dozen large and separate pieces of country are seen to have drifted in from far and near to coalesce as California. McPhee and Moores also journeyed to remote mountains of Arizona and to Cyprus and northern Greece, where rock of the deep-ocean floor has been transported into continental settings, as it has in California. Global in scope and a delight to read, Assembling California is a sweeping narrative of maps in motion, of evolving and dissolving lands.
At various times in a span of fifteen years, John McPhee made geological field surveys in the company of Eldridge Moores, a tectonicist at the University of California at Davis. The result of these trips is Assembling California, a cross-section in human and geologic time, from Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada through the golden foothills of the Mother Lode and across the Great Central Valley to the wine country of the Coast Ranges, the rock of San Francisco, and the San Andreas family of faults. The two disparate time scales occasionally intersect—in the gold disruptions of the nineteenth century no less than in the earthquakes of the twentieth—and always with relevance to a newly understood geologic history in which half a dozen large and separate pieces of country are seen to have drifted in from far and near to coalesce as California. McPhee and Moores also journeyed to remote mountains of Arizona and to Cyprus and northern Greece, where rock of the deep-ocean floor has been transported into continental settings, as it has in California. Global in scope and a delight to read, Assembling California is a sweeping narrative of maps in motion, of evolving and dissolving lands.


Blackwell North Amer
At various times in a span of fifteen years, John McPhee has made geological field trips in the company of Eldridge Moores, a tectonicist at the University of California at Davis. The result is Assembling California, a cross-section in human and geologic time, from Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada through the golden foothills of the Mother Lode and across the Great Central Valley to the wine country of the Coast Ranges, the rock of San Francisco, and the San Andreas family of faults. The two disparate time scales occasionally intersect - in the gold disruptions of the nineteenth century no less than in the earthquakes of the twentieth - and always with relevance to a newly understood geologic history in which half a dozen large and separate pieces of country are seen to have drifted in from far and near to coalesce as California.
McPhee and Moores also journeyed to remote mountains of Arizona (where Moores grew up in a gold-mining camp), and to Cyprus and northern Greece, where rock of the deep-ocean floor has been transported into continental settings, as it has in California. A specialist in such ocean rock and the histories it suggests, Moores routinely works at the applied outer boundary of the theory of plate tectonics, reconstructing ancestral worlds. Presented here in global dimension is a sweeping narrative of maps in motion, of evolving and dissolving lands.
In 1978 and 1979, John McPhee also began his wider series of related journeys, traversing North America at about the fortieth parallel, using roadcuts of interstate 80 as windows into regional geologies, and incidentally profiling the lives of the geologists with whom he travelled. A continental tetralogy, gathering under the title Annals of the Former World, began with Basin and Range (1980), and continued with In Suspect Terrain (1982) and Rising from the Plains (1986), and is now completed by Assembling California. In the overall structure of these compositions, the controlling element has been not a simple geographic itinerary but a set of thematic jumps from place to place in the light of the theory of plate tectonics, which, when the author began, was only ten years old.

Baker
& Taylor

The final volume of a continental tetrology that tracks the author's travels along the fault lines of the earth's shifting plates discusses how a half a dozen large pieces of country have drifted from far and near to coalesce as California. 60,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1993.
ISBN: 9780374106454
0374106452
Branch Call Number: 557.94 MAC
Characteristics: 303 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.

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JRKWV
Dec 03, 2014

In and around the San Francisco Bay area, we have ready access to as many beautiful natural features as any populated region in the world. In this, the penultimate volume in his Pulitzer Prize-winning Annals of the Former World, John McPhee explores science that made these features wonderful. As with the previous volumes in the series, Assembling California is more than just a geology lesson. McPhee's focus rests on the intersection between immense and impersonal geologic time and immediate and emotional human time. To explore the intersection, he recounts the origins and impacts of the Gold Rush, the scientific revolution of Plate Tectonics, and, of course, the earthquakes that the shape the land around us. Told in a loose narrative of a road trip McPhee took with preeminent geologist Eldridge Moore's down Interstate 80 from the Sierras to the sea, it takes rich side trips to places from the Parthenon in Athens to miles beneath the floor of the ocean. This book rewards and reader who has ever wondered just why California is so beautiful. More surprisingly it also rewards people who have never wondered that.

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