5R54. Geodynamics of the Lithosphere: An Introduction. - K Stuwe (Dept of Geol and Paleontology, Univ of Graz, Heinrichstr 26, Graz, 8010, Austria). Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 2002. 449 pp. ISBN 3-54041-726-5. $69.95.

Reviewed by H Lippmann (Lehrstuhl A fur Mech, Tech Univ, Boltzmannstr 15, Garching, D-85748, Germany).

This monograph, although titled, an Introduction, deals in a pretty comprehensive way with the physical and mathematical modeling of the lithosphere of the earth, thus representing a textbook and a reference at the same time. Its special character results from the intention, ie, to bridge the gap of understanding between the field geologist and the more theoretically oriented scientist. Therefore mathematics has not been avoided; however, it is limited to the necessary items well explained without using mathematical proofs.

In the first two chapters, a common base of knowledge is generated, for all readers starting from general concepts like modeling as such, geometrical dimension, geometrical or physical approximation, accuracy of measurement or calculation and similar, after which the basic geological and the geographical concepts are outlined. Actually, the lithosphere may be understood as the mainly solid outer shell of the earth, extending down to a depth of 100–150 km. It contains the heterogeneous crust with a depth of up to 80 km under the surface, while it is confined from below by the mostly viscous asthenosphere. Consequently, the lithosphere is governed by plate tectonics responsible, besides other effects for the evolution of the geographical shape and position of the continents as well as for its perturbations by earthquakes or eruptions. Chapter 3 describes the direct influence of heat and temperature. Here, after an introduction into the mathematical background heat production (or consumption) by means of radioactivity, the effect of chemical processes and of mechanical friction is treated in combination with heat conduction, advection (ie, non-stationary convection), and melting. Now the continental lithosphere may even be defined in terms of thermodynamics, ie, as the outer shell of the earth in which heat is primarily transported via conduction. Moreover the thermal evolution in the oceanic lithosphere, in rock intrusions, and around faults is considered. Chapter 4 is mainly mechanical using rigid body or elastic models. It deals with the vertical motion of rock masses (uplift or exhumation), the resulting surface elevation or mass distribution (isostasy), the erosion and the forming of the surface shape (geomorphology), including also the depth of the oceans, the shape of volcanoes, or the boundaries between land and sea in terms of fractals. Three-dimensional states of stress, strain, or strain rate are introduced in Chapter 5 mutually with the constitutive laws of elasticity (Hooke), brittle fracture (Mohr-Colomb), and viscosity (Newton). These laws are then applied in a combined way to models for the lithosphere or, in particular, to the plate motion including the effects of overlapping, sinking, and folding. The collision of continents is, besides other selected geodynamic processes, studied in detail. Chapter 7 illustrates the fundamentals and the use of phase diagrams (as they would commonly be denoted in other disciplines), at which temperature, time, or components of stress and strain are mutually plotted. In three appendices, mathematical tools and a list of symbols are presented.

Each chapter contains also a series of non-trivial problems for the reader, the solutions of which can be found at the end of the book. The list of references is comprehensive; the numerous diagrams, figures, and halftone pictures with detailed legends are impressive. Altogether the author succeeded in writing an excellent book fully meeting the intentions mentioned at the beginning of this review. Geodynamics of the Lithosphere: An Introduction can be warmly recommended to geologists or geophysicists looking for a deeper understanding of the complicated phenomena, ruling the evolution of the solid shell around our planet. Moreover, it can be of immediate use to engineers involved in the construction of streets, bridges, buildings, tunnels, or mining facilities closely related to the properties of the earth’s mantle and to the processes to which it is submitted.