Studies in volcanology: The legacy of George Walker, edited by T. Thordarson, S. Self, G. Larsen, S.K. Rowland and A. Höskuldsson. Special publications of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior No. 2. Geological Society, London, 2009. No. of pages: viii+413. ISBN 978-1-86239-280-9 (hardback)
Article first published online: 13 MAY 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Volume 46, Issue 1, page 109, January/February 2011
How to Cite
McConnell, B. (2011), Studies in volcanology: The legacy of George Walker, edited by T. Thordarson, S. Self, G. Larsen, S.K. Rowland and A. Höskuldsson. Special publications of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior No. 2. Geological Society, London, 2009. No. of pages: viii+413. ISBN 978-1-86239-280-9 (hardback). Geol. J., 46: 109. doi: 10.1002/gj.1240
- Issue published online: 17 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 13 MAY 2010
STUDIES IN VOLCANOLOGY: THE LEGACY OF GEORGE WALKER, edited by T.Thordarson, S.Self, G.Larsen, S.K.Rowland and A.Höskuldsson. Special Publications of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior No. 2. Geological Society, London, 2009. No. of pages: viii+413. Price: £110-00. ISBN 978-1-86239-280-9 (hardback).
Brian Mcconnell*, * Geological Survey of Ireland, Beggars Bush, Haddington Road, Dublin 4, Ireland
As the title indicates, this volume is a tribute to the life and work of George P.L. Walker, ‘the father of modern quantitative volcanology’, who died in 2005. It fulfils its aim more than most such tribute volumes, in that many of the papers are directly developed from Walker's own work, particularly by his students. Indeed, two of the papers have Walker as a co-author and one is solely authored by Walker, prepared for publication by two of the volume editors.
The book is published for the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI) by the Geological Society, London, and has the familiar format of the GS Special Publications series. The standard of editing is high and reproduction of illustrations is good, although use of colour is very limited and would have benefitted some of the more complex diagrams.
Reflecting Walker's career, the volume covers a wide range of subject matter, including lava flows, pyroclastic deposits and volcano structure, and the geographical areas of Iceland, New Zealand, Mexico and Hawaii. I first became aware of the name of George Walker through an interest in the zeolite minerals of the Antrim basalts where I grew up. Unfortunately, this early part of Walker's career is not represented by any papers in the volume. I again encountered the work of Walker in the course of an undergraduate independent mapping project in eastern Iceland, for which Walker's seminal paper on the structure of Breiðdalur central volcano became an indispensable template. By happy coincidence for this reviewer, one of the papers in the current volume (by Burchardt and Gudmundsson) is a structural study of that very undergraduate mapping area, now called Geitafell Volcano.
Some chapters of the book are review papers that are likely to become standard references. These include Harris and Rowland on the controls on lava flow length, L. Wilson and Walker on pyroclastic fall deposits, C.J.N. Wilson et al. on the Taupo Volcanic Zone and White et al. on the volcanology of large igneous provinces. Others papers are conceptual works that will lead to further debate, notably Cañón-Tapia on the hydrostatic principles of volcanic systems, but do we need yet another theoretical classification of calderas, in this instance by Martí et al.? Still others concern relatively new techniques to volcanology, for example, the paper by Cassidy et al. on the application of ground penetrating radar to mapping pyroclastic deposits—Walker would have approved of these new ways to quantify volcanoes and their products.
With 17 high-impact papers on a diverse range of volcanological topics, this is likely to be a much-cited volume and an important addition to the library of any volcanologist other than the ultra-specialist. The volume also includes a chapter on the scientific legacy of Walker that serves as a useful reminder to students of the origins of much of what is now standard volcanology. In addition, a ‘pictorial summary’ of Walker's life and work conveys the intrepid adventurer and rigorous scientist.