360 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour maps
The rich geological record of the Cretaceous Period reveals a world that experienced extreme climatic warmth and significantly higher global sea levels than today. It therefore provides a natural case study of the Earth in 'greenhouse' climatic mode, which this interdisciplinary textbook analyses from the perspective of Earth System Science. After surveying the evidence for conditions on the Cretaceous Earth, The Cretaceous World explores the interactions between the physical, chemical and biological processes, within the Earth and at its surface. These processes control the prevailing environmental conditions on Earth and The Cretaceous World highlights the major differences between the Cretaceous and the present world. Finally, the mass extinction that terminated the period, and its possible causes, are investigated. Designed for undergraduate and graduate courses, this textbook features chapter summaries, focus boxes, and questions and answers throughout the text. The Cretaceous World is supported by a website hosting sample pages, selected illustrations, and worked exercises.
"[...] it is a textbook but it's how a textbook should be. To begin with it is actually a joy to look at: a happy marriage of Cambridge University Press's publishing know-how and the Open University's experience in producing lively, informative and well-structured texts for students that are also accessible to the general reader [...] if only the same team could address themselves to the remaining dozen or so periods of geological time [...]"
- Douglas Palmer, New Scientist
"In short, this is a very well-written book, filled with up-to-date material and should be a challenging read for the best undergraduate students in geology. I would recommend this book as a supplementary text for several courses at my university and would encourage graduate students to add a copy to their library. Anyone doing research on the Cretaceous Period should have a copy."
- Professor Wayne Ahr, Texas A&M University
"This book succinctly presents the new ideas of Earth System Science – that earth processes are interlinked and part of a much bigger picture – the hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and geosphere are all dependent on each other and part of a global system. In many parts of the book, general principles of techniques and concepts are presented before application to the Cretaceous – so there is much to be gained by all earth science students from reading this text. The book is beautifully illustrated with colour figures and photographs, the latter coming from all over the world. The text is very readable and there are useful questions scattered throughout to enable students to ponder the significance of topics. I highly recommend this book to all Earth Scientists – students and professionals alike. The Open University team are to be congratulated on producing a fine textbook."
- Professor Maurice Tucker, University of Durham
"[...] offers a well-rounded and extremely informative view of the Cretaceous world and I recommend it highly for teachers and students alike."
- Geological Magazine
"The wealth of observations on this remarkable period in Earth history contained in the book should stimulate the interest of graduate and advanced undergraduate students at whom it is aimed [...] a good read [...] "
- Teaching Earth Sciences
"It is easy to read, though it is definitely not a textbook [...] Would I recommend buying this book? Yes, it is a readable comprehensive book about the Cretaceous."
- The Open University Geological Society Journal
Part I. Survey of the Cretaceous World
1. Introduction to the Cretaceous
2. The mobile palaeogeographical framework
3. Fluctuating sea-level
4. Changing climate and biota
5. Changing climate and biota - the marine record
Part II. The Workings of the Cretaceous World
6. Biogeochemical cycles
7. Volcanic inputs
8. The operation of major geological carbon sinks
9. The lost world rediscovered
Part III. The End of an Era
10. The end-Cretaceous mass extinction
11. Seeking an explanation
12. The 'smoking gun'
13. The effects of the Chicxulub impact
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