A loving portrayal of our precious planet that offers easy-to-grasp discussions of scientific concepts and detailed examinations of Earth's tectonic, biological, and paleontological forces...
Did you know that the history of Earth can be revealed by examining everything on it? From the esoteric science of minerals to the interactions between humans and their environment, our planet provides answers to every question we could ask about its history and what lies ahead. As climate change impacts everything we do on our planet, now is the time to take a closer look at what messages Earth has for us: what does it mean when the wind blows or the ground shifts? In this book, geologist Elisabeth Ervin-Blankenheim reveals the history of our planet through a geologic lens and explains why everyone should care about it.
Song of the Earth is a thrilling biography of our planet that equips readers with the scientific, historical, and philosophical symbiosis between humans and Earth. Ervin-Blankenheim explores geologic principles of deep time, plate tectonics, and change in life forms in plain English. The book is illustrated with striking maps, diagrams, and pictures, allowing her to dissect everything from how a roiling, molten planet cooled to how the first cyanobacteria began to oxygenate the atmosphere to how the atmosphere has changed over time.
Ervin-Blankenheim journeys through the science with ease and provides narrative sections about pioneering geologists and their groundbreaking discoveries. In viewing the planet as the integrated ecosystem it is, Ervin-Blankenheim showcases how land, water, life, and the atmosphere maintain an elegant yet delicate balance – one that, based on the author's evidence of current trends in the context of past planetary cataclysm, appears to be under imminent threat. At times both gripping and lovingly poetic, Song of the Earth shows not only how Earth has influenced life, but also how life has distinctly shaped our planet.
Geology Emerges as a Science
Chapter 1: European Roots
Chapter 2: On the Other Side of the Pond
Chapter 3: From an Early Geologic Timescale
Chapter 4: Measuring Time and the Nature of Deep Time
Chapter 5: History of the Revolution in Earth Sciences
Chapter 6: Oceans, Continents, Plates, and How They Interact
Life on the Earth
Chapter 7: Evolution, Extinctions, and Biodiversity
The Biography of the Earth
Chapter 8: Precambrian Story
Chapter 9: Paleozoic Era
Chapter 10: Mesozoic Era
Chapter 11: Cenozoic Era
Chapter 12: The Earth's Impact on Life and Life's Impact on the Earth
Elisabeth Ervin-Blankenheim is a licensed professional geologist and geology instructor at Front Range Community College in Colorado. She was a hydrologist and geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey for many years before pursuing a PhD in science education and geologic literacy at St. Francis Xavier University.
"Within the pages of this book, Elisabeth Ervin-Blankenheim provides a new way to interpret the autobiography of our home planet. Song of the Earth: Understanding Geology and Why It Matters is a fresh take on the history of geological thinking"
– Callan Bentley, Assistant Professor of Geology, Piedmont Virginia Community College
"A wonderful book, keenly written and beautifully illustrated. It is inspiring to hear from someone who loves geology as deeply as I do. The author is at her best when talking about the history of geology and the early researchers who contributed to its development. Figure 2.1, showing a statue of glaciologist Louis Agassiz with its head buried in cement following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, illustrates the depth of her research and her ability to connect geology with other human concerns."
– James Kasting, Evan Pugh Professor of Geoscience and Meteorology, Penn State University