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Once the subject of scientific curiosity by an elite few, the study of impact events and their consequences is receiving greater attention by the larger scientific community and the public. Among the reasons for this in-creased sensitivity are the scientific debate over the involvement of a major impact event at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, the witnessing of the impact of the fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levey 9 on Jupiter in 1994, and the accompanying spate of made-for-television and Hollywood blockbuster disaster movies involving the potential demise of humanity because of a wayward asteroid or comet. As noted, however, by the author of Traces of Catastrophe, despite the growing importance of meteorite impact phenomena in terrestrial geology, the topic is not widely addressed in general geoscience textbooks. Although a large body of literature exists, it is, in general, specialized and scattered.

The book, subtitled A Handbook of Shock-Metamorphic Features in Terrestrial Meteorite Impact Structures, is an attempt to fill this gap. It is not intended for the specialist but rather for general geoscientists and academics. It is divided into eight chapters of which only three deal exclusively with shock metamorphic features.The others provide background and details of such topics as cratering mechanics, impact flux, and crater morphology. Each chapter is designed to stand alone. Technical terms are highlighted when they are first defined in the text. The text is simply written and very readable. It is well illustrated, mostly with photographs of shocked lithologies and microscopic thin sections. At the back of the book is an extensive reference list for the reader who wishes to delve further into this fascinating subject.