Cover image for The story of the Earth in 25 rocks : tales of important geological puzzles and the people who solved them
The story of the Earth in 25 rocks : tales of important geological puzzles and the people who solved them
Prothero, Donald R., author.
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [2018]
Physical Description:
viii, 354 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
"Every rock is a tangible trace of the earth's past. The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks tells the fascinating stories behind the discoveries that shook the foundations of geology. In twenty-five chapters--each about a particular rock, outcrop, or geologic phenomenon--Donald R. Prothero recounts the scientific detective work that shaped our understanding of geology, from the unearthing of exemplary specimens to tectonic shifts in how we view the inner workings of our planet. Prothero follows in the footsteps of the scientists who asked--and answered--geology's biggest questions: How do we know how old the earth is? What happened to the supercontinent Pangea? How did ocean rocks end up at the top of Mount Everest? What can we learn about our planet from meteorites and moon rocks? He answers these questions through expertly chosen case studies, such as Pliny the Younger's firsthand account of the eruption of Vesuvius; the granite outcrops that led a Scottish scientist to theorize that the landscapes he witnessed were far older than Noah's Flood; the salt and gypsum deposits under the Mediterranean Sea that indicate that it was once a desert; and how trying to date the age of meteorites revealed the dangers of lead poisoning. Each of these breakthroughs filled in a piece of the greater puzzle that is the earth, with scientific discoveries dovetailing with each other to offer an increasingly coherent image of the geologic past. Summarizing a wealth of information in an entertaining, approachable style, The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks is essential reading for the armchair geologist, the rock hound, and all who are curious about the earth beneath their feet."--Dust jacket.
Volcanic tuff : Vulcan's wrath : the eruption of Vesuvius -- Native copper : the iceman and the island of copper -- Cassiterite : the "isles of tin" and the Bronze Age -- Angular unconformity : "no vestige of a beginning" : the immensity of geologic time -- Igneous dikes : the "Earth's great heat engine" : the origin of magmas -- Coal : the rock that burns fires the industrial revolution -- Jurassic world : the map that changed the world : William Smith and the rocks of Britain -- Radioactive uranium : clocks in rocks : Arthur Holmes and the age of the Earth -- Chondritic meteorites : messengers from space : the origin of the solar system -- Iron-nickel meteorites : the cores of other planets -- Moon rocks : green cheese or anorthosite? : the origin of the moon -- Zircons : early oceans and life? : evidence in a grain of sand -- Stromatolites : microbial condos : cyanobacteria and the oldest life -- Banded iron formation : mountains of iron : the Earth's early atmosphere -- Turbidites : Archean sediments and submarine landslides -- Diamictites : tropical glaciers and the Snowball Earth -- Exotic terranes : paradox in rocks : wandering fossils and traveling landmasses -- Jigsaw-puzzle bedrock : Alfred Wegener and continental drift -- Chalk : the Cretaceous Seaway and the greenhouse planet -- The iridium layer : the death of the dinosaurs -- Lodestones : how paleomagic launched plate tectonics -- Blueschists : the puzzle of subduction zones -- Transform faults : earthquake! : the San Andreas Fault -- Messinian evaporites : the Mediterranean was a desert -- Glacial erratics : a poet, a professor, a politician, a janitor, and the discovery of the ice ages.
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