- © 2013 Society of Economic Geologists.
This is Pirajno’s fourth book, the first three being Hydrothermal Mineral Deposits – Principles and Fundamental Concepts for the Exploration Geologist (1992), Ore Deposits and Mantle Plumes (2000), and Hydrothermal Processes and Mineral Systems (2009). Prior to publication of this book, a similar topic was covered in a massive five-volume set, published in 1990 in China, covering 1,585 pages in more than 25 chapters, suitably authored by an editorial committee. This more modest and manageable hardback text by Pirajno covers a huge topic never before attempted by a single author.
The book discusses China’s mineral deposits in eight chapters, including the Introduction, that are rather oddly grouped and “somewhat confusing,” as the author himself admits. The chapters are grouped by hosting tectonic blocks for all types of discussed mineral deposits regardless of deposit age. Although not entirely clear, it appears that the chapters treat older blocks first, and younger basin-hosted deposits later, with a special chapter on Pirajno’s apparently favorite topic, mantle plumes.
The book’s introductory chapter covers a variety of topics, including an overview of China’s mining history and the development of the geological sciences. There is also a useful section on Chinese language styles and the confusion that can arise in their subsequent translation. As the author notes, consistent spelling can be a challenge in English versions of Chinese geological literature. However, notably absent from this section is the treatment of the many important unit names with roots in ethnic minority languages such as Kazakh, Tibetan, Mongolian, and Manchu. These have undergone progressively more Mandarin spellings over time. Examples include the Da-Hinggan block, Tarim basin, and Junggar basin. Given the consistent treatment of spelling in this chapter, …