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Starts with the Earth's physical and chemical evolution out of the primordial solar nebula. The condensation of elements and their redistribution are described, leading into a section dealing with mapping, geophysical and geochemical studies. Basic principles and processes of plate tectonics are then described, leading to the elucidation of the working of geological cycles. The main thrust of the remainder of the book is a description of the geological evolution of the Earth, with volcanism and seismicity, ice ages and climate, isotopic techniques and age dating, all treated, along with the impact of mass extinctions, global-warming and ozone holes.
Part I. Beginnings: 1. Planet Earth; 2. The formation of earth; 3. The primaeval earth; 4. Methods of the earth scientist; Part II. The Earth's Heat Engine: 5. The earth's heat engine; 6. Magma; 7. The perpetual dynamo; 8. Continents and oceans; 9. The earth from space; Part III. Patterns of Earth History: 10. Dating the rock record; 11. Integrating earth history; 12. The early continents; 13. The drifting continents; 14. Late Precambrian times; 15. The Appalachian story; 16. Late Palaeozoic mobile belts; 17. Gondwanaland evolves; 18. Stirring in the Alps; Part IV. Gondwanaland and More Recent Events: 19. Gondwanaland before the break-up; 20. Gondwanaland disrupted; 21. New oceans for old; 22. The Pacific Ocean; 23. The Cordilleran Chains; 24. The Pleistocene epoch; 25. Early man; 26. The earth now; 27. What next? Appendices; Bibliography; Glossary of terms; The history of life; Data for the earth and planets, Index.
'In straightforward language we are taken from the Earth's beginnings, given some understanding of the Earth's heat engine, and guided through the patterns of Earth's history. An excellent book!' Irish Astronomical Journal