Geology Genius: Igneous Rocks is Terribly Misnamed

Cover of Geology Genius: Igneous Rocks, showing a rough basalt flow
A very inaptly named book

You know what? Don’t bother.

This is a tiny, 24 page book. Now, some books pack a lot of information in 24 pages! But not this book. Chapter 1 has 153 words in it – if you count words like the and and. There’s an average of 25.5 words per page. They’re not inspiring words. They’re dryly informative. They’re too complex for little kids, and there are too few of them for not-so-little kids.

But I wouldn’t have minded so much, cuz at least the pictures are nice. Then I came across their explanation of pumice:

Why does pumice have holes in it? Lava comes into contact with cold water. Rapid cooling creates gas bubbles. The holes are left behind.

Look. I did not pay $6.99 for a book to be that spectacularly wrong! Pumice floats in water, but it sure as heck doesn’t form in it! Rapid cooling doesn’t form the vesicles! Criminy. Listen: We’re talking about a rock that forms from very gassy magma. The gasses are there to begin with; they don’t come from the outside. While basalt magmas can sometimes trap enough gas to erupt as pumice, it’s much more usual for thick, sticky magmas like dacite or rhyolite:

This rock is a trap to volcanic gases that tried to escape from magma but were unable to do it because they simply could not break out and formed many gas-filled vesicules instead. Trapped gases occupy much larger volume than they did when dissolved in magma. Hence, it is perhaps needless to say that it forms as a result of explosive volcanic eruptions.

Nota bene: this is not bloody happening because magma is being erupted into cold water! There are other forms of lava rock that result from that, such as pillows and hyaloclastites.

There’s a grand total of maybe 41 facts in this book. You’d think the editors could have managed not to miss one, but here we are today. Faboo.

If you want to pay $6.99 for a handful of correct but rather blandly-presented facts and about 20 Shutterstock photos, this is the book for you. Otherwise, skip it. Kids deserve better, and so does your wallet.

Geology Genius: Igneous Rocks is Terribly Misnamed