December 25, 2020
What to Buy a Geologist for Christmas: 2020 Edition
Posted by Evelyn Mervine
Merry Christmas, everyone! It has been quite a year. If your year has been like mine, you are still recovering… and buying last-minute Christmas presents!
This is the 10th year that I have published my “What to Buy a Geologist for Christmas” list. This year, I am recommending ten geology textbooks that the geologist in your family will be certain to love. If you want to check out my gift lists from previous years, you can find them here:
This year has been a strange year. Because of the pandemic, many of your geologist friends and family have probably been working from home and not able to do their usual field or laboratory work. Perhaps some of your geologist loved ones have been taking on some additional study or brushing up on some technical knowledge by reading some textbooks. Geologists love textbooks and other geology reference books. However, geology textbooks tend to be very expensive. So, if you want to give the geologist in your family a present that they will really appreciate and use for many years, consider buying them one of the textbooks below.
Textbook #1: Manual of Mineral Science
This is a classic mineralogy textbook that is a must-have in any geologist’s library. I bought my copy second-hand for my second year course in mineralogy, and I still refer to the book regularly. This is such a classic textbook that you may want to check if the geologist in your family already owns a copy. That said, if you buy the latest edition then it will still be a hit since your geologist can upgrade their copy.
Available here and here. Cost: about $200.
Textbook #2: An Introduction to the Rock-Forming Minerals
This is another classic mineralogy textbook that is also a must-have. It is often referred to simply as “DHZ”, from the author names Deer, Howie, and Zussman. For example, one geologist might say to another, “I want to try to identify this blue mineral. Do you have a copy of DHZ in the office?”. Again, you might want to check if the geologist in your family already owns a copy.
Available here and here. Cost: about $80. You can also find second-hand copies for a bit less.
Textbook #3: Minerals in Thin Section
If the geologist in your family does any work under the microscope, then they will appreciate an illustrated guide to minerals in thin section. There are a few different books on the market, but one that I own and really like is “Minerals in Thin Section”.
Available here. Cost: about $100. You can find this book second-hand as well.
Textbook #4: An Introduction to Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
There are a number of good igneous and metamorphic petrology textbooks on the market, but this one by John Winter is one of my favorites. I highly recommend it!
Available here. Cost: about $200 new. You can find a second-hand copy for about $25.
Textbook #5: Sedimentary Geology: An Introduction to Sedimentary Rocks and Stratigraphy
After the geologist in your family is done reading about igneous and metamorphic rocks, they might enjoy brushing up on sedimentary rocks. This classic textbook is a great tome on all things sedimentary.
Available here and here. Cost: about $100.
Textbook #6: Isotopes: Principles and Applications
If you have a geochemist in your family, then they are bound to appreciate this classic Gunter Faure text (the most recent edition has Teresa Mensing as a co-author) on isotopes. I have spent hours and hours with my copy of this textbook, which is well-worn in places. I often consult it daily when I am working on a geochemistry project.
Available here and here. Cost: about $200. You can also find second-hand copies fairly easily. Note that some of these second-hand copies will be the previous 1st and 2nd editions. The 2nd edition is still great to purchase, but the 1st edition is somewhat out-of-date.
Textbook #7: Geochemistry: An Introduction
This is another great geochemistry textbook. It is more of an introductory textbook, so I would recommend it for any geologist, even if they do not specialise in geochemistry. However, the geochemist in your family will love to have a copy of this textbook, too!
Available here. Cost: About $50-100 for a second-hand copy.
Textbook #8: The Solid Earth: An Introduction to Global Geophysics
This is a classic geophysics textbook that any geologist will love. I used this book for my graduate studies.
Available here. Cost: about $50 for a second-hand copy.
Textbook #9: Ancient Earth, Ancient Skies: The Age of the Earth and Its Cosmic Surroundings
This is one of my all-time favourite geology books. It reads more like a popular science book than a textbook, and you learn all about how we know the age of the Earth and solar system. It is very well-written and even the most educated geologist is bound to learn something from this beautifully written book.
Available here. Cost: About $50 new. You can find a second-hand copy for about $25.
Textbook #10: Volcanoes of the Solar System
This is a really fun textbook that any geologist would love to own. Unless they work at NASA, the geologist in your family is unlikely to already have a copy of this textbook, and they are sure to love it! It is such a fabulous book.
Available here. Cost: About $20-30 for a second-hand copy.
That’s all for my list. What other textbooks do you think would make good gifts for geologists?