Book review by B. M. Simonson

Recommended reading for advanced undergraduates through faculty and professionals.

More than just a general geologic guide to national parks, this book nicely summarizes the regional geology of the eastern arm of the East African Rift system. This region is justifiably famous for many wonders, including the snows of Kilimanjaro, vast herds of migratory mammals, and the world’s oldest footprints.

Scoon (Rhodes Univ., South Africa) is a career geologist who has been visiting the sites described for decades. His descriptions are clear and concise and of necessity feature two main elements: extensive volcanism and unusual lakes. After 3 chapters of general introductory information and 3 more providing an overview of the geology of the region, 11 chapters outline the geology of specific parks in geographic groupings. This creates some redundancy—perhaps not a bad thing for those reading selectively on certain parks.

The explanations are enriched by numerous maps, satellite images, diagrams, and field photos, all in color. Scoon also highlights the unusual ecosystems and hominin fossils of the area and how they reflect its unusual geology. He comments little on the region’s current human inhabitants. A short bibliography concludes each chapter; however, both the references and the descriptions in general will challenge readers who lack geological training.

-B. M. Simonson, emeritus, Oberlin College