The Geology of Australia

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 24, 2004 - Science - 276 pages
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The Geology of Australia provides a vivid and informative account of the evolution of the Australian continent over the past 4400 million years. Starting with the Precambrian rocks which hold clues to the origins of life and the development of an oxygenated atmosphere, it then covers the warms seas, volcanism and multiple orogenies of the Palaeozoic, which built the eastern third of the Australian continent. This illuminating history then details the breakup of Gondwana and the development of the continental shelves and coastlines. Separate chapters cover the origin of the Great Barrier Reef, the basalts in Eastern Australia and the geology of the Solar System. From Uluru to the Great Dividing Range, from sapphires to the stars, The Geology of Australia is a comprehensive exploration of the timeless forces that have shaped this continent and that continue to do so.
 

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Contents

AN AUSTRALIAN PERSPECTIVE
1
Box 11 Radiometric dating of rocks
3
Box 12 What is geology?
13
Australian geology
14
THE EARTH A GEOLOGY PRIMER
19
Plate tectonics
21
Box 21 Agedating the rocks
22
Minerals
30
Development of inland seas
131
BIRTH OF MODERN AUSTRALIA FLOWERING PLANTS MAMMALS AND DESERTS
139
Box 71 Pollen data from brown coal and other Tertiary deposits
149
cooling and growth of the icecaps
151
Box 72 Evidence for climate change
154
Australias arid interior
155
EASTERN HIGHLANDS AND VOLCANOES BARELY EXTINCT
164
Box 81 Basalts as a source of gemstones
173

Types of rocks
32
Box 22 Metamorphism
39
Shaping of the landscape
41
Box 23 The Australian regolith and soils
43
Coastal and offshore areas
46
Orogenic cycle
48
Geological time scale
49
BUILDING THE CORE OF PRECAMBRIAN ROCKS
52
Archaean
55
Proterozoic
60
Box 31 Geology of Uluru and KataTjuta
67
Origin of life
68
Box 32 Wilpena Pound and the Ediacaran fauna
71
Rodinia and Gondwana
73
WARM TIMES TROPICAL CORALS AND ARID LANDS
79
Explosive radiation of life
80
Fossils
82
Box 41 How are fossils preserved?
86
Warm seas with arid plains volcanic arcs and deep troughs
88
Late Devonian upheaval
94
Granites
95
Box 42 Cooma granite emplacement and metamorphism 435433 Ma
96
ICEHOUSE CARBONIFEROUS AND PERMIAN GLACIATION
99
The volcanic arc
106
Development of the coal basins
108
Box 51 Glossopteris and the vegetation of the coldclimate peatlands in Gondwana
110
Mount Wingen
113
MESOZOIC WARMING THE GREAT INLAND PLAINS AND SEAS
118
Box 61 The great extinction of life 251 Ma ago
119
The great inland plains
120
Box 62 The Sydney Basin
128
Seamount chain offshore
176
Origins of the volcanics and the Great Divide
177
BUILDING THE CONTINENTAL SHELF AND COASTLINES
182
Box 91 Australias Exclusive Economic Zone
186
Sea levels
188
Types of coasts
190
Box 92 Tsunamis
194
Box 93 Coastal erosion problems
197
The Australian coastline
200
Box 94 Comparison of Sydney Harbour and Port Phillip Bay
207
GREAT BARRIER REEF
213
Box 101 Effects of cyclones on the Great Barrier Reef
214
Reef types
217
Reef deposits
221
Formation of the Great Barrier Reef
223
Box 102 Extent of terrigenous sediment in the Great Barrier Reef
227
Continental slope and trough seaward of the Great Barrier Reef
229
PLANETS MOONS METEORITES AND IMPACT CRATERS
232
The planets
233
Earths Moon
236
Meteorites
240
Impact craters
241
Eltanin and Chicxulub
246
Past and future of Earth in the Solar System
248
CYCLES IN A CONTINENTAL JOURNEY
252
Cycles of deformation
255
Cycles of climates
259
Evolution and extinctions
267
Epilogue lessons of geological perspective
269
Index
273
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About the author (2004)

David Johnson holds an adjunct position as a Senior Principal Research Fellow in the School of Earth Sciences, James Cook University.

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