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Good Reads  Earth System Sciences  Geosphere  Structural Geology & Plate Tectonics

How the Mountains Grew A New Geological History of North America

By: John Dvorak(Author)
452 pages, 8 plates with colour photos and colour illustrations; b/w photos, b/w illustrations
Publisher: Pegasus Books
How the Mountains Grew
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  • How the Mountains Grew ISBN: 9781639362158 Paperback Jan 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
  • How the Mountains Grew ISBN: 9781643135748 Hardback Mar 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 2-4 weeks
Selected version: £12.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

From the acclaimed author of The Last Volcano and Earthquake Storms comes the incredible story of the creation of a continent.

For most of modern history, geologists could say little more about why mountains grew than the obvious: There were forces acting inside the Earth that caused mountains to rise. But what were those forces? And why did they act in some places of the planet and not at others?

When the theory of plate tectonics was proposed, our concept of how the Earth worked experienced a momentous shift. As the Andes continue to rise, the Atlantic ocean slowly widens, and Honolulu creeps ever-closer to Tokyo, this seemingly impercepitable creep of the Earth is revealed in the landscape all around us.

But tectonics cannot – and do not – explain everything about the wonders of the North American landscape. What about the Black Hills? Or the walls of chalk that stand amongs the rolling hills of west Kansas?

The states of Washington and Oregon are slowly rotating clockwise, and there is a diamond mine in Arizona – and it all points to the geologic secrets hidden inside the 2 billion year-old-continental masses,. A whopping ten times older than the rocky floors of the ocean, continents hold the clues to the long history of our planet.

With a sprightly narrative that brings science to vivid life, John Dvorak's How the Mountains Grew will fill readers with a newfound appreciation for the ground beneath their feet.

Customer Reviews


John Dvorak, PhD, has spent twenty years operating a large telescope at Mauna Kea for the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii.  His writing has appeared as cover stories for Scientific American, Astronomy and Physics Today.  His books include Earthquake Storms, The Last Volcano, and Mask of the Sun, all available from Pegasus Books.

By: John Dvorak(Author)
452 pages, 8 plates with colour photos and colour illustrations; b/w photos, b/w illustrations
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Media reviews

"Earth scientist John Dvorak's exuberant new book How the Mountains Grew: A New Geological History of North America puts these Anthropocene fires into the context of deep time. Dvorak is a wonderful storyteller. He weaves disparate threads of past worlds into a coherent fabric of time, place and life that provides the ultimate context for all specific modern environmental issues. When reading How the Mountains Grew, I could easily imagine being outdoors with him breaking rocks in a search for fossils, crawling up some canyon wall to count the sands of time or trekking across one of our great ice sheets. His human stories are also fascinating, especially those involving serendipitous discoveries. Is this really a 'new' geologic history? Yes. Dvorak challenges the conventional wisdom. [The book] has a vast scope and an envelope-pushing narrative. This new geologic history of North America will enrich your everyday personal experiences."
– Robert M. Thorson, The Wall Street Journal

"Imagine a world where pigeon-sized dragonflies soar above spiders with half-meter-long legs, where 2-meter-long millipedes slither and 20-kilogram scorpions hunt. About 300 million years ago, such surreal creatures thrived; today, rocks hint at how these and other creatures in the deep past lived. These clues allow geologist and writer John Dvorak to vividly re-create ancient landscapes in How the Mountains Grew. Far from a dusty tome plodding through plate tectonics, the book teems with life as Dvorak establishes inextricable links between geology and biology. Dvorak's storytelling shines bright."
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