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Recollections of a petrologist: Joseph Paxson Iddings

Geological Society of America


IMAGE: This is the cover for Recollections of a Petrologist, edited by Davis A. Young. view more

Credit: Geological Society of America Special Paper 512

Boulder, CO, USA - This new Special Paper from The Geological Society of America reproduces the "scientific autobiography" of Joseph Paxson Iddings (1857-1920). Iddings was considered the leading American igneous petrologist of his era, deciphering the igneous geology of Yellowstone National Park, spearheading the CIPW quantitative igneous rock classification project, and writing several magisterial petrology texts. Volume editor Davis A. Young supports Iddings' lively text with a substantive introduction and hundreds of biographical notes.

Young writes that in these recollections, Iddings sheds light on the central petrologic issues of his time "in a lucid narrative interspersed with assessments of the personalities and achievements of geological contemporaries, literary allusions, poems, humorous stories, and a wealth of vivid descriptions and impressions of the cultures of Far Eastern countries." As he recounts his illustrious career with the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Chicago, Iddings discusses his part in the transition from hand-specimen petrography to theoretical igneous petrology based on microscopical petrography, and physical chemistry.

No petrologist, mineralogist, or historian of geology should miss the pleasurable reading offered by Recollections.


Individual copies of the volume may be purchased through The Geological Society of America online store,, or by contacting GSA Sales and Service,

Book editors of earth science journals/publications may request a review copy by contacting April Leo,

Recollections of a Petrologist
Davis A. Young, editor
Geological Society of America Special Paper 512
SPE512, 208 p., $80; GSA member price $56
ISBN 978-0-8137-2512-3
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