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Ocean Worlds: The Story of Seas on Earth and other Planets

Popular ScienceNew Paperback
  • Examines the nature and deep history of oceans
  • Looks at how and when oceans may have formed on Earth and how they evolved
  • Explores the importance of oceans in hosting life on which both humans and animals depend
  • Considers how climate change, pollution, and over-exploitation are putting resources at risk
  • Looks at what we know of oceans on other planets
  • Considers what may become of our oceans in the future

By: Jan Zalasiewicz (Author), Mark Williams (Author)

294 pages, 8 plates with 10 colour photos and colour illustrations; 18 b/w photos and b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Dec 2017 | #234897 | ISBN-13: 9780199672899
Available for pre-order: Due Dec 2017 Details
NHBS Price: £12.99 $17/€15 approx
Hardback | Dec 2014 | #212427 | ISBN-13: 9780199672882
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £19.99 $26/€24 approx

About this book

Oceans make up most of the surface of our blue planet. They may form just a sliver on the outside of the Earth, but they are very important, not only in hosting life, including the fish and other animals on which many humans depend, but in terms of their role in the Earth system, in regulating climate, and cycling nutrients. As climate change, pollution, and over-exploitation by humans puts this precious resource at risk, it is more important than ever that we understand and appreciate the nature and history of oceans. There is much we still do not know about the story of the Earth's oceans, and we are only just beginning to find indications of oceans on other planets.

In Ocean Worlds, geologists Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams consider the deep history of oceans, how and when they may have formed on the young Earth – topics of intense current research – how they became salty, and how they evolved through Earth history. We leam how oceans have formed and disappeared over millions of years, how the sea nurtured life, and what may become of our oceans in the future. We encounter some of the scientists and adventurers whose efforts led to our present understanding of oceans. And we look at clues to possible seas that may once have covered parts of Mars and Venus, that may still exist, below the surface, on moons such as Europa and Callisto, and the possibility of watery planets in other star systems.

"fluid and fascinating prose with just the right dosage of entertaining anecdotes and human interest"
Chemistry & Industry, Michael Gross

"readable and absorbing account"
Guardian, Devorah Bennu

"[A] fast-paced but very readable ride through deep time [...] Recommended. All academic library collections"

"exhilirating foray"
– Barbara Kiser, Nature



Chapter 1 Water in the cosmos
Chapter 2 Ocean origins
Chapter 3 Oceans, seas, lakes
Chapter 4 The salt of the Earth
Chapter 5 Moving the waters
Chapter 6 Life of the oceans
Chapter 7 Oceans in crisis
Chapter 8 The end of Earthly oceans
Chapter 9 Oceans of the Solar System
Chapter 10 Distant oceans



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Jan Zalasiewicz has served on the Committees of the Quaternary Research Association and Joint Association of Geoscientists for International Development, and on the Councils of the Palaeontographical Society and the Geological Society of London. Currently, he is Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy, Vice-Chair of the International Subcommission of Stratigraphic Classification, a member of the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London, and Secretary of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy.

Mark Williams has served on the council of the Palaeontographical Society both as an editor and vice-president. Currently he is a member of the United States Geological Survey 'PRISM paleoclimate group', the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy, and the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London. He is special publications editor for The Micropalaeontological Society.

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