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Devil in the Mountain: A Search for the Origin of the Andes

Biography / Memoir
Marvellous geological adventure story

By: Simon Lamb

335 pages, 36 b/w photos, 38 illus

Princeton University Press

Paperback | Jun 2006 | #157960 | ISBN: 0691126208
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £24.99 $33/€28 approx
Hardback | Dec 2004 | #144956 | ISBN: 0691115966
Out of Print Details

About this book

Lamb and a small team of geologists have spent much of the last decade exploring the Bolivian Andes, the second highest mountain range on Earth - a region rocked by earthquakes and violent volcanic eruptions. The author's account is part travelogue, part detective story, describing how he and his colleagues pursue a trail of clues hidden in the landscape and rocks. Sprinkled throughout the narrative are insights into the life of a scientist. But the backdrop for all these adventures is the bigger story of the Earth and how geologists have gone about uncovering its secrets.

An absorbing account of how geologists come to understand the workings of the world. The New York Times An absorbing account of the many years Lamb has spent exploring and pondering the Andes. But the book is not simply about a particular place or one scientific career. Lamb gives his readers a wonderful feel for how geology works- how geologists gather clues, test hypotheses and ultimately come to understand the workings of the world... [The book] make[s] us so familiar with the history of the Andes that they become living things. -- Carl Zimmer New York Times Book Review Simon Lamb's book is an enticing blend of personal adventure and scientific explanation. It is an unusual scientist who manages to describe the world vividly but also explain the science clearly... Lamb takes us painlessly through the workings of the great engine of the earth--and what could be more important than understanding how our planet is put together... His descriptions of flogging through the jungle-clad eastern foothills of the Andes leave one relieved to be able to experience it all from the comfort of an armchair. -- Richard A. Fortey Times Literary Supplement [An] engrossing and well-written book... Lamb's writing is engaging and clear... Even when he tackles esoteric areas of geophysics and dynamical modeling far from his own field of expertise, Lamb exhibits an enviable facility for simplifying complex and, in some cases, quite controversial ideas. He has keen insight into Bolivian geology and a sympathetic eye for local culture... Devil in the Mountain makes compelling reading. Lamb has done a masterful job in piecing together the Andean puzzle in a way that seems to make perfect sense. -- David E. James Nature [Lamb's] prose is lively and for the most part free of jargon. His tales of adventures during individual field campaigns engage readers in a way that a straight science text could not. Most important, he describes particularly well the process by which a field geologist interprets the Earth. -- Richard W. Allmendinger American Scientist This book describes physical quests as well as a scientific one. The history of mountains can only be told in millennia, but in America the history of people's attempts to make mountains their own can be told in a few centuries. Washington Post Book World


Preface vii Prologue xi Part One Chapter One Devil in the Mountain 3 Chapter Two A Mountain of a Problem 13 Chapter Three A Geological Reconnaissance 38 Chapter Four Jeeps, Motorbikes, and Other Things 65 Part Two Chapter Five Looking for the Source of Ancient Rivers 85 Chapter Six Putting Down Roots 121 Chapter Seven A Curvaceous Shape 177 Part Three Chapter Eight A Sort of Fudge Cake 207 Chapter Nine The Subterranean Furnace 248 Chapter Ten Putting Up Barriers 277 Selected Glossary 313 Further Reading 319 Index 327

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Simon Lamb is Lecturer in the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University and a Fellow of St. Cross College. He is coauthor of "Earth Story: The Forces That Have Shaped Our Planet", recently revised in paperback by Princeton University Press.

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