Hydrology, edited by Oscar E. Meinzer. 8vo., 712 pages; illustrations, charts and tables. New York: McGraw Hill, 1943. Price $7.50.
A monumental work, to which 22 different scientists have contributed 15 chapters, covering almost every phase of hydrology from the evaporation of water through precipitation as water or snow— and the movement of water in solid or liquid form on down from mountain tops or other surfaces by capillary action, as run off, or as ground water, with intermediate points of storage, to the sea. Also, compressed into one chapter, a discussion on physical changes of the earth produced by all the above.
The reader cannot help realizing by what a fine thread of chance, the multitudinous physical properties of water have, together, made life possible on earth. Suppose water was densest at 32° instead of at 39° Fahrenheit. Suppose water did not dissolve NaCl; suppose it did dissolve silica or lime more than it does; suppose its specific heat were less than it is, or its surface tension greater or less—could our earth be habitable under any of the above, or other changes in many other attributes of water? Yet in this solid mass of 712 pages, replete with detailed studies, there seems to be a lack of any bond tying the whole together—just so much material through which the reader, who can survive to the end, feels utterly at sea—with no discussion, however, on the very important influence of the sea with its very large volume of water, on the earth. The wide variety of styles of the 22 different authorities contribute further to the disconnection of the treatise as a whole.
J. E. F.