A Guide to Ripples, Dunes, and Other Natural Features of the Seashore. By William J. Neal, Orrin H. Pilkey, and Joseph T. Kelley. Mountain Press Publishing Company, 2007. 250pp. including index. 6 x 9 inches. Paperback. ISBN-13: 978-0-87842-534-1. ISBN-10: 0-87842-534-9. Illustrated.
At first glance, the beach may appear to be an endless, flat, monotone landscape meant only for swimming, snoozing, or working on your tan. Upon closer inspection, though, the beach reveals myriad treasures for the curious to locate, such as ephemeral beach ripples decorating the sand, traces of miniature organisms inscribed on dunes, and armored mudballs. Atlantic Coast beaches from Maine to Florida are full of amazing features formed by the interactions between tides, currents, bedrock, weather, beach critters, and more.
Written for a general audience, this book covers everything from microscopic nematodes to the potentially cataclysmic changes occurring along the coastline due to rising sea level. Its clear writing, illustrative photographs, and instructive diagrams answer some interesting questions, such as why do some sands bark and sing, how do miniature sand volcanoes form, and how to barrier islands migrate?
William J. Neal is professor emeritus and past chairman of the Department of Geology at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. As a sedimentologist he has been involved in coastal studies since the 1970s. In 1993 he received (with Orrin H. Pilkey) the American Geological Institute's Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Understanding of Geology.
Orrin H. Pilkey is the James B. Duke professor emeritus in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University. He began his career as a deep-sea oceanographer and ended up quite happily on the beach. He received the Francis Shepard Medal for excellence in marine geology and was the 2003 recipient of the Priestly Award, which honors an outstanding American scientist for discoveries that contribute to the welfare of humankind.
Joseph T. Kelley is a native of the Maine coast and has a PhD in Geology from Lehigh University. He taught briefly at the University of New Orleans and then became the state marine geologist with the Maine Geological Suvey in 1982. In 1999 Joe became a professor of marine geology at the University of Maine. He is currently chairman of the Department of Earth Science there.
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