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Volcanic dust, climate change, tsunamis, earthquakes - geoscience explores phenomena that profoundly affect our lives. But more than that, as Doug Macdougall makes clear, the science also provides important clues to the future of the planet. In an entertaining and accessibly written narrative, Macdougall gives an overview of Earth's astonishing history based on information extracted from rocks, ice cores, and other natural archives.
He explores such questions as: What is the risk of an asteroid striking Earth? Why does the temperature of the ocean millions of years ago matter today? How are efforts to predict earthquakes progressing? Macdougall also explains the legacy of greenhouse gases from Earth's past and shows how that legacy shapes our understanding of today's human-caused climate change. We find that geoscience in fact illuminates many of today's most pressing issues - the availability of energy, access to fresh water, sustainable agriculture, maintaining biodiversity - and we discover how, by applying new technologies and ideas, we can use it to prepare for the future.
List of Illustrations# Preface# Acknowledgments# 1. Set in Stone# 2. Building Our Planet# 3. Close Encounters# 4. The First Two Billion Years# 5. Wandering Plates# 6. Shaky Foundations# 7. Mountains, Life, and the Big Chill# 8. Cold Times 9. The Great Warming# 10. Reading LIPs# 11. Restless Giants# 12. Swimming, Crawling, and Flying toward the Present# 13. Why Geology Matters# Bibliography and Further Reading# Index
Doug Macdougall is Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Nature's Clocks: How Scientists Measure the Age of Almost Everything; Frozen Earth: The Once and Future Story of Ice Ages (both from UC Press); and A Short History of Planet Earth.
MacDougall has given us a gem, a book that removes emotion and apocalyptic hyperbole from the equation and provides a sober analysis of why most scientists have come to the conclusion they have about how human activity has started to play a role in the Earth's climate.--North County Times "[Macdougall] Provides important clues to the future of the planet."--Interaction / Bms Book News "[Macdougall] addresses ways to apply geology to questions ... and presents all in an enjoyable reading stye."--Choice