Books for Volcanophiles

A place to put book tips for everyone to check out.

And first, for complete beginners, some wikipedia links as suggested by Lurking (to come to speed to be able to follow the suggested books) with the usual wikipedia disclaimer:

Know of a good geology/volcanology book? Leave a comment, please.


21 thoughts on “Books for Volcanophiles

  1. On geology of the Canary Islands:
    Juan Carlos Carracedo, Simon Day: “Canary Islands. Classic Geology in Europe 4.” Terra, Harpenden, 2002.

    On geology of Iceland:
    Thor Thordarson, Armann Hoskuldsson: “Iceland. Classic Geology in Europe 3.” Terra, Harpenden, 2002.

    Þorleifur Einarsson, “Geology of Iceland. Rocks and Landscape.” Mál og Menning, Reykjavík, 1994.

    Kristján Sæmundsson, Einar Gunnlaugsson: “Icelandic Rocks and Minerals.” Mál og Menning, Reykjavík, 1999

  2. Please remember these are from my bookshelves, and are my old texts from student days (late 60s – early 70s)
    or similar may have them
    (B) Basic (to A Level); (I) Intermediate (A Level+); (A/A+) BSc(+)

    Rutley’s Elements of Mineralogy (25th ed)
    HH Read; Murby; 1967 (B-I)

    Introduction to the Rock Forming Minerals
    Deer, Howie & Zussman
    Longmans; 1972 (A)

    Dana’s Manual of Mineralogy (18th ed)
    Wiley & Sons; (A – A+)

    Dana Textbook of Mineralogy (4th ed)
    WH Ford
    Wiley & Sons (A+) (to me irreplacable!!)

    Petrography – Intro to the Study of Thin Sections
    Williams, turner & Gilbert
    Freeman; 1954 (I-A) (old but good still)

    Petrology of Igneous Rocks
    Hatch, Wells & Wells
    Murby 1961 – revised 1976(?) (A)

    Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology
    Turner & Verhoogen
    McGraw-Hill; 1960 (very A+)

    Metamorphism – a Study of transformation of Rock masses
    A Harker
    Methuen; 1964 (A)

    Metamorphism and Metamorphic Belts
    A Miyashiro
    Allen & Unwin; 1973 (A – A+)

    Petrogenesis of the metamorphic Rocks
    HGF Winkler
    Springer Verlag; 1967 (A+)

    • Rutleys Elements of Mineralogy – is/was excellent but very dry reading.
      I was quite impressed with ‘the macdonald encyclopedia of Rocks & Minerals’ (my version is isbn 0-356-09147-3 but there is probably a more modern copy) as it seems to have most of the stuff you might find in Rutleys, but also has a nice colour picture of each of the minerals/rocks it lists.

  3. cont’d
    GA Macdonald
    Prentice-Hill; 1972 (I+ – A-) (good reading)

    Elements of Structural Geology
    E Sherbon Hills
    Chapman Hall & Science Paperbacks; 1972 (I)

    Principles of Physical Geology
    Nelson; 1964 (I) (Excellent background)

    Plate tectonics & Geomagnetic reversals
    Freemans; 1974 (A – A+)

    Fault and Joint Development in Brittle & Semi-brittle rock
    Neville Price
    Pergammon/Commonwealth Internat. Library (A)

    General/Basic background
    Outline of historical geology
    AK Wells
    Murby; 1966

    Rocks & Minerals of the World
    Tiger Press
    (Coffee Table – large format, beautiful mineral photo’s)

  4. On Volcanism:
    H.-U. Schmincke: “Volcanism”. Springer, Heidelberg, 2004
    (I know the German version and found it very helpful – if you know a little bit about the subject before.)

    B. Houghton, Hazel Rymer, John Styx, Steve McNutt, Haraldur Sigurdsson: “Encyclopedia of Volcanoes.” Academic Press, 2000.
    (This one I intend to buy sometime, because it seems to be a good one.)

  5. Erik Klemetti at Eruptions recommended this one (textbook for undergrad classes):
    Lockwood JP and Hazlett RW, Volcanoes – Global Perspectives, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

  6. After reading his interview on “Eruptions” I got hold of Clive Oppenheimer’s book “Eruptions that Shook the World,” which, despite the off-puttingly “commercial” title, certainly helped the transition from what I knew/thought I knew and understood to the the unknown (in my case the composition of magma and volcanic gasses comes top of this list).

  7. You may find this odd. But when you start dealing with positions on the surface of the Earth how to cut a bearing any “by the seat of your pants” noodling though latitude-longitude info… hard core style. I highly recommend The American Practical Navigator as an authoritative treatise. (Also known as “Bowditch.”

    This text is intended for seafaring navigators and captains and serves as a ready reference for all things nautical… when you are 2000 kilometers out to sea and don’t have a nearby library.

    There is a lot of non Latitude Longitude stuff in it, but that section is by far the best collection of the formulas on how to deal with it.

  8. A book called “Alkaline rocks and Carbonatite of the world”

    Just thought I’d recommend this book I stumbled upon via google (it is about Africa only but is part 3 of a series so presumably there are more) and I think it’s probably pretty good if you’re looking for geological maps for Volcanism in Africa. You can browse almost all the content via the link.

  9. Two books about Mt Pelee’s 1902 volcanic eruption (Martinique):

    1) The Day the World Ended by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts, 1969
    2) The Last Days of St. Pierre by Ernest Zebrowski, 2002

    Not only about the volcano, but also about the authorities who had the power to make decisions.
    Reflections on these books by Chris Doyle at

  10. In case this got missed in general comments…

    Juan Carlos Carracedo

    Canarian Volcanoes IV La Palma La Gomera El Hierro.

    Editorial Rueda S.L.

    ISBN 9788472071902

    This edition has Spanish and English text side by side and lots of great illustrations, in my opinion a great introduction to the Canary Islands’ Volcanoes. I’m not sure if the previous 3 books are available in English, can someone give me the heads up if they find them… I found my copy on La Palma, so it’s possible that the relevent books may be found on the other islands…

  11. Volcanoes of the World 3rd edition by Lee Siebert, Tom Simkin, and Paul Kimberly published by Smithsonian Institution and University of California Press

    Volcanoes in the Sea by Gordon Macdonald and Agatin T. Abbott – about the geology of the Hawaiian islands

  12. Another book on the geology of Iceland:
    Ari Trausti Gudmundsson, Living Earth. Reykjavík (Mál og Menning) 2007 (around 400 p.)
    Good introduction. 🙂

  13. “Hekla 1947” nice report of Hekla last large eruption, and also historical reports of the other Hekla eruptions since settlement with some detail. I forgot the author name, but its a 1947 book. It was nice to hold in my hand a 60 years old book.

    “Fjallabak reserve”, also unknow author, but goes to a great lenght to describe the Torfajokull volcano region, in minute detail about every mountain and ridge, and how was formed, besides info in flora and fauna. A treat to read about oen of the most beautiful places in Iceland: the Torfajokull (Fjallabak reserve) region.

  14. I had to move this.
    I have a book I would recommend on the basin and range. The bibliographic reference is as follows:

    Meldahl, Keith Heyer.
    Rough Hewn land : A geologic journey from California to the Rocky mountains
    Keith Heyer Meldahl.

    This book is packed with figures, information and geology. It is all written in layman’s’ terms, and covers the formation of the basin and range, the formation of the Rockies, and the geologic past before then. It is very informative, and I highly recommend it.

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