Here is a book for everyone who has an interest in how our planet works, what has happened during its 4,550 million year history and what might happen in the future. It tells how Earth scientists study the pattern of events that have shaped the planet and guided the evolution of life on Earth. In clear and simple language it describes how the effects of these events are measured and the careful detective work needed to unravel the extraordinary complexity of Earth history. The latest advances in dating methods, including the detection of regular patterns of global climate change, are explained and illustrated with real case histories. Our environment is unexpectedly unstable.Dramatic and catastrophic changes in the environment have directed the evolution of life and the rise of Man, and we can expect similar events in the future. If we are to control their effects, we will have to understand what to expect - and what could happen if we try to intervene in the 'natural' development of our home, the Earth.
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