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(volume 8 (2005) — number 1-2)
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1Jochen HOEFS, 2004. Stable Isotope Geochemistry. Fifth revised and updated edition. Springer-Verlag.  Hardcover, 244 p. ISBN 3-540-40227-6. Net price € 59,95

2This book forms an introduction to the wide range of applications of stable isotopes in geosciences. It is subdivided into three parts: theoretical and experimental principles, isotope fractionation mechanisms of selected elements and variations of stable isotope ratios in nature. In the first part, the general characteristics of isotopes, the isotope effects and the isotope fractionation processes are briefly discussed. It also touches the basic principles of mass spectrometry, the standards used in the analyses, the sample preparation method for gases and treats the advances in microanalytical techniques and stable isotope geochemistry of the heavier elements. Part 2 discusses the fractionation mechanisms of the elements, including the heavier elements that open new perspectives in earth sciences. For the most important elements, the preparation techniques, the standards and the fractionation mechanisms are given in addition to the abundances of the stable isotopes and their particular reason of interest. The recent advances in the analyses of boron and especially of lithium allow a wide variety of applications. Also the search for naturally occurring variations in magnesium, silicon, calcium, chromium, iron, copper, selenium, molybdenum and thallium are promising. Silicon isotope geochemistry provides interesting data for igneous rocks, for opaline sinters and biogenic opal. Biological fractionation appears to be the prime cause of calcium isotope variations. Chromium is a common anthropogenic contaminant in surface waters. Changes in redox conditions will cause variations in the isotopic composition of chromium. Iron is the third most abundant element that participates in a wide range of biotically and abiotically controlled redox processes in different environments. The number of studies on Fe-isotope variations increased exponentially during the last five years. The isotopic variation of copper is even larger than for iron and results from both inorganic and bacterially mediated processes. The largest diff erences are observed in low-temperature secondary minerals. Chlorine isotope geochemistry has proven its applicability in a large number of geological problems. The author cites many references that underpin the growing interest in this element. This chapter contains many new references since the fourth edition appeared in 1997. It forms a good  basis for a more elaborate literature study on the stable isotope of interest. The applicability of stable isotope geochemistry in extraterrestrial materials and in the different reservoirs on earth is treated in part 3 that forms the major part of the book. The isotope variations found in chondrites and in rocks from the Moon, Mars and Venus are discussed in the view of the operating processes (chemical mass fractionation, nuclear reactions ...) and the differentsources (solar materials, interplanetary dust ...). The variability of the O, H, C, S and N isotope compositions of mantle derived rocks on earth are more variable than predicted. The most plausible reason for this is the input of oceanic crust by subduction. Magmatic rocks show a large variation in isotope composition as a result of secondary alteration processes, but also due to the fact that magmas may have a crustal and mantle origin. The isotope composition of volatiles in magmatic systems and related isotope fractionation processes can be deduced by analyses of glasses, volcanic gases and hot springs. Degassing and changes in speciation are the main processes causing isotope fractionation. Water in magmatic systems dominantly has a meteoric origin. However, the evidence for magmatic water participating in geological processes in certain volcanic systems increased in recent years. Stable isotopes became an important tool in ore deposit studies, providing information about the origin of the mineralising fluids, the temperature of ore deposition and the physico-chemical conditions of mineral precipitation. Mineralising fluids may have a meteoric, magmatic, metamorphic and seawater origin. Oxygen, carbon and sulphur isotopes are applied with variable success to determine the origin of the different types of ore deposits and the processes taking place in the mineralising system. The hydrosphere forms a discontinuous reservoir including meteoric water in rivers, lakes and stored in glaciers, groundwater, ocean water, and pore and formation water. Oxygen and hydrogen isotopes have been applied since decades to unravel the complexity of processes within the hydrosphere. The isotopic composition of the ocean during the geological history forms a separate chapter, reflecting the importance attributed at this topic in earth sciences. The carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur isotope composition of dissolved and particulate compounds in ocean and freshwaters depends on a variety of processes such as the composition of the minerals, which have been dissolved during weathering, the inorganic or organic nature of the precipitation process and exchange with atmospheric gases. Biological processes, active in surface waters, have a severe eff ect on the carbon and nitrogen content and their isotopic composition in the water. In the section on the atmosphere, the author stresses the tremendous progress made in the analysis of the isotope composition of important trace compounds in the atmosphere. The major elements nitrogen, oxygen and carbon continually break apart and recombine in a multitude of photochemical reactions, which have the potential to produce isotope fractionations. The application of stable isotope investigations of the atmosphere to study anthropogenic pollution has great potential. Photosynthesis is responsible for isotope fractionations in the biosphere, not only for carbon, but also for hydrogen and oxygen. In the biosphere section, the living and fossil organic matter, oil, coal and natural gas are discussed. Moreover, interesting paragraphs on stable isotopes as indicators of diet and metabolism and on tracing of anthropogenic organic contaminant sources are also included. The overview of sedimentary rocks includes the clay minerals, the clastic sediments, biogenic silica and cherts, carbonates, the effect of diagenesis on the stable isotopic composition, phosphates and iron oxides.This fifth edition includes a new chapter on palaeoclimatology. Past climates can leave their imprint in the geological record in many ways. The most widely used geochemical method to determine palaeotemperatures is the analyses of the stable isotope ratios. The palaeoclimate chapter is subdivided into marine and continental records. Ice cores from polar regions form a continental record that provided most of the current information on past climates. Part 3 ends with a chapter on metamorphic rocks. The book forms a primary source of information with regard to how and where stable isotopes can be used to solve geological problems. This admirable overview presents an enormous diversity of applications of stable isotopes in all fields of geology, ranging from extraterrestrial materials and the upper mantle to palaeoclimatology and biogeology. The book is fluently written and easy to read. It certainly deserves its place in all scientific libraries and on the book shelf of numerous earth scientists, who will appreciate this nice work. However, due to the highly descriptive nature it is less suitable as a handbook for advanced geochemistry courses.

3Philippe MUCHEZ, Geodynamics and Geofluids Research Group, K.U.Leuven

4Roland VILAGINE`S, 2003. Eau, Environnement et Santé publique. Introduction à l’Hydrologie. 2de  Edition. Editions TEC&DOC – Lavoisier, 11 rue Lavoisier– 75008 Paris <> 208 p. Prix : 50 €

5Deuxième édition d’un ouvrage qui, comme signalé précédemment, couvre des sujets très interdisciplinaires allant de la géologie à la médecine, de manière condensée, lisible mais simplifiée à outrance en tout cas pour les aspects hydrologiques (que je connais le mieux). Comme signalé judicieusement dans l’avant-propos, chaque paragraphe pourrait donner lieu à plusieurs volumes spécialisés. L’auteur s’adresse donc à des ‘généralistes’ des domaines en question. Le sous-titre de cet ouvrage ‘Introduction à l’Hydrologie’ est à ce point de vue assez trompeur. L’ouvrage est structuré en trois chapitres principaux :- L’eau dans la nature ;- Gestion des Eaux ;- Traitement des Eaux et Santé publique. Le style concis cadre bien avec une description synthétique des principaux enjeux liés aux problématiques traitées. Dans le premier chapitre, il n’y a aucun changement par rapport à la première édition du livre à l’exception d’un paragraphe sur les eaux embouteillées se consacrant aux législations et règles de commercialisation de celles-ci (on se demande néanmoins si c’est bien là sa place). Pour le reste, ce chapitre est toujours aussi décevant dans l’approche hydrologique hyper-simplifiée et réductrice qu’il propose. Comme signalé à l’examen de la première édition, l’exposé se base sur une situation uniquement franco-francaise très réductrice et qui rend cet ouvrage beaucoup moins intéressant à l’extérieur de l’Hexagone. L’exemple des ‘principes fondamentaux de la détermination des périmètres de protection’ est évocateur et attristant : l’auteur n’a pas pris la peine de se renseigner sérieusement auprès des professionnels …et fait croire que la France est en retard considérable en la matière par rapport aux autres pays européens. En tout cas, certains passages de ce chapitre, sont non seulement enfantins mais également erronés pour bien des aspects, montrant que l’auteur aurait dû se faire aider par un spécialiste. Dans le chapitre 2, l’auteur a ajouté un paragraphe sur la ‘Gestion des services d’eau et assainissement’. Ce chapitre est limité à une dizaine de pages décrivant exclusivement la situation francaise. Il semble néanmoins que l’auteur ignore qu’une Directive Cadre Européenne sur l’Eau a été promulguée et que tout ce paysage de la gestion est en train d’évoluer fortement pour se mettre en conformité avec celle-ci. Le chapitre 3 est manifestement le plus intéressant et le plus développé (142 pages sur les 198 au total). Dans la partie ‘Eau et santé publique’, l’auteur y a actualisé une série d’informations sur les aspects toxicologiques. Dans la partie ‘Usages et traitement des eaux’, une synthèse est réalisée sur l’ensembles des aspects : usages, pollutions les plus courantes, traitements divers. C’est dans ces derniers aspects que personnellement j’ai trouvé l’ouvrage très instructif, bien que la structuration proposée ne me soit pas très claire. En résumé, cet ouvrage est à conseiller vivement aux hydrologues ou géologues désireux d’obtenir des informations de bases sur les aspects toxicologiques et de traitement des eaux. Pour ce même public, on conseillera par contre de ne pas s’attarder sur les ‘maladresses’ des deux premiers chapitres.

6Alain DASSARGUES Hydrogéologie & Géologie de l’Environnement (ULg et KULeuven)

7Tibor & Harmund MUÅNLLER. 2003. Modelling in Natural Sciences. Design, Validation and Case Studies. Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg. Hardcover 459 p. ISBN 3-540-00153-0. Price € 69,95 (net).

8This book is an attempt to formalise basics and methods of modelling in natural sciences. After a rather philosophical introduction about models in a broad sense the authors start to describe the analysis and mapping of systems, the characterisation and the art of creating models, inference problems, probabilities, tolerance aspects, and finally the testing and validation of models. The “thorough

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, «BOOK REVIEWS», Geologica Belgica [En ligne], number 1-2, volume 8 (2005), 151-155 URL :