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: The case history approach has an impressive record of success in a variety of disciplines. Collections of case histories, casebooks, are now widely used in all sorts of specialties other than in their familiar application to law and medicine. The case method had its formal beginning at Harvard in 1871 when Christopher Lagdell developed it as a means of teaching. It was so successful in teaching law that it was soon adopted in medical education, and the col lection of cases provided the raw material for research on various diseases. Subsequently, the case history approach spread to such varied fields as busi ness, psychology, management, and economics, and there are over 100 books in print that use this approach. The idea for a series of Casebooks in Earth Sciences grew from my ex perience in organizing and editing a collection of examples of one variety of sedimentary deposits. The project began as an effort to bring some order to a large number of descriptions of these deposits that were so varied in pre sentation and terminology that even specialists found them difficult to compare and analyze. Thus, from the beginning, it was evident that something more than a simple collection of papers was needed. Accordingly, the nearly fifty contributors worked together with George de Vries Klein and me to establish a standard format for presenting the case histories.