A dry, awkwardly written look at an increasingly important branch of the earth sciences. Geochemists study the ways elements combine and move about on our planet; their work helps geologists, archeologists, prospectors, farmers, and especially those concerned with pollution and waste management. The authors describe the formation of molecules and crystals in some detail, then discuss the Earth's structure, how minerals and trace elements are taken up and used in the biosphere, and how poilutants and hazardous wastes are introduced into the environment. Unfortunately, despite intriguing explanations of the limits of carbon-14 dating and why water is a good solvent, plus a few other useful passages, this is presented in a stiff, impersonal way guaranteed to dampen enthusiasm. No actual geochemists appear in the two chapters called ""Geochemists at Work""; the final chapter, ""Geochemical Hazards,"" is especially general and simplistic. Index, glossary, short bibliography, alphabetical list of elements. Photographic illustrations not seen.