Jimi Irwin
May 2013

Book Review: Environmental Mineralogy II

Minerals are everywhere and impact on our environment in a host of complex and sometimes unexpected ways. But what exactly is environmental mineralogy? Helpfully, the introduction explains that this book considers systems containing minerals that constitute key elements of the global ecosystem including soils, sediments and atmospheric aerosols. As the repositories of chemical elements in the Earth's crust, minerals provide the elements that are essential for life and human development but are also linked with processes that can cause pollution and threaten ecosystems. So, the scene is set for a fascinating look at the roles minerals play in a wide range of environmental processes.

While the book is aimed at those carrying out research there is much of interest for others simply wishing to understand work in this field. It is in three parts. The first considers experimental and computational methods but it is the following parts, dealing with the mineralogy of key environmental systems and specific environmental problems which are most likely to be of interest to IES members.

Book coverFor example, as our energy policy slowly lurches forward, a chapter describing the technical challenges of storing high-level nuclear waste provides an excellent insight into this key element of any nuclear energy programme. And, importantly, it acknowledges that such challenges sit within a framework of social and ethical issues.

Many readers will have an interest in atmospheric aerosols and the formation, transport and removal of particles from the atmosphere is covered in depth, including discussion of physical and chemical properties. The significance of particles in climate change modelling is also considered.

The chapter dealing with the suitability of minerals for controlled landfills reviews both containment practice and technical construction. The properties of minerals, particularly clays, in the transport and containment of contaminants are also covered, including the application of minerals for in situ clean up of groundwater.

Other topics include soils, marine sediments, microbial controls, mine wastes, conservation of cultural heritage and human health. Each is covered in depth providing an excellent overview of the current state of knowledge.

This is an authoritative volume, which touches on many important current issues in environmental science. While it must surely be an essential volume on the bookshelf of any researcher in the field, it also contains much of interest for the less specialist, but environmentally aware, reader.

Environmental Mineralogy II
David J. Vaughan (Editor), R. A Wogelius (Editor) | ISBN: 9780903056328 | Published: February 2013 | Publisher: Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland