Modification to the structure of the text
Each chapter covering environments of deposition will be divided into two sections.
This approach is proposed to help draw a distinction between features that are important products of sedimentary processes in modern landscapes and the sedimentary products that will be preserved in the rock record. As an example, upland glacial processes create important sedimentary features in modern landscapes but are in regions of net degradation and will not be preserved in the longer-term rock record.
The principle of using modern environments to interpret the sedimentary record will also be explored in more detail in terms of the limitations of the approach. Changes in the forms and diversity of plants and animals through time have very strongly impacted on sedimentary processes and products in both continental and marine environments. The differences between icehouse and greenhouse periods in Earth history also need to be taken into account when considering sedimentary environments. In particular, our current view of depositional environments is through the prism of the recent ice ages and many aspects of the greenhouse world would have looked very different. A simple ‘uniformitarian’ approach must therefore be used with care. Previous editions of the book made mention of these issues, but there will be more prominence to how changes in the planet through time impact on sedimentology.
In the past it was important to provide comprehensive citations of key pieces of information, but the ease of access to on-line reference materials has resulted in changing patterns of access to source material amongst students of geology. It remains important to provide users of this book with clear guidance on where further information about topics can be found in journal articles, books and on-line reference resources, but the use of citations and references will be modified. In place of citations within the text, key references will be listed at the ends of sections and chapters. This will improve the flow of the narrative in the text and make the text sections more concise. The reference lists will provide clear signposting of the key journal articles, reference texts and on-line resources that users of the book will find most relevant. [NOTE: following proposal review, the author has now backtracked on this idea a little and will include key references within the text.]
In this edition full colour will be used for all diagrams and photographs. The style of diagrams used in the 2nd edition of the book will be retained, but all will be redrafted with additional information where appropriate and clarity improved. The revised structure of the book will result in some new diagrams being required. Additional photographs are now available from the author’s collection to illustrate both modern environments and examples of sedimentary features from the rock record.
The new edition will contain some new material although the overall scope of the 2nd edition will be retained. An increase in the overall length of the book is therefore anticipated with an aim to keep this to approximately 10%.