557: Geologic History of Florida by Albert C. Hine

by Gerard


557.59: Hine, Albert C. Geologic History of Florida: Major Events that Formed the Sunshine State. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2013. 217 pp. ISBN 978-0-8130-4421-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Pure Science
  • 550: Earth sciences and geology
  • 557: Earth science of North America
  • 557.5: Southeastern United States (South Atlantic states)
  • 557.59: Florida

Geology is fast becoming one of my favorite sciences to read about. The explosive processes, coupled with the sheer massiveness of the timescales and the delicateness of the measurements involved, makes this field ripe for storytelling. Continents bond together and then tear apart, forming new ones so that the process can repeat. Even now, Earth’s continental plates are moving toward one another and will form a new landmass over the next ten million or so years. Albert C. Hine’s Geologic History of Florida takes the reader on a tour of the entire global history of how the tiny state of Florida came to be formed and how that reshapes our understanding of this seemingly quiet landscape.

This book is set up so that each chapter details a major event or process in the formation of Florida. From its genesis as its own plate to its bonding with the North American landmass and then its subsequent formation of sinkholes, swamps, and beaches, the history of the Floridian landmass is riddled with interesting tidbits. One of them is that most people think of Florida as what is shown on a map: a grip-shaped peninsula with a thin panhandle connecting it to the mainland. But that’s only what you see above the surface. Most of the real landmass of Florida is under the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico existing as what is known as the Florida Platform. Also, the southern part of Florida once existed separately as part of the Florida-Bahama Block before settling into its current position.

Hines says that this book is meant not as a textbook, but for those who wish to teach it in a more informal setting. For the most part, he accomplishes his goal. The language isn’t terribly technical, but when it is, he provides very helpful glossaries at the end of each chapter to help us out. There are also plenty of illustrations and citations for further reading (if you are so inclined). All in all, this is a very intriguing and readable book with plenty for both the expert and the amateur alike.