New Views on an Old Planet

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 28, 1994 - Science - 439 pages
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In this 1994 revised edition of his award-winning book on the Earth's history, Professor van Andel updates and expands his earlier text, drawing on a wealth of new knowledge that has become available in the last decade. This book examines the major changes in the Earth's history - the evolution of the solid Earth, the changing oceans and atmospheres and the progression of life - to render a historical account of the Earth's evolution. Much knowledge was gained in the previous decade, and while little material has been deleted, this new edition has grown to cover the key topics, including a chapter on how we can improve our grasp on geological time. Mindful of the current interest in global change, new sections describe the green-house effect and address its possible future ramifications. In prose that is both concise and compelling, New Views on an Old Planet: A History of Global Change makes Earth history appealing to the general reader. It will serve as an excellent text for introductory courses in the earth and environmental sciences.
 

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Contents

Reading the record of the rocks
13
11 Environment and facies
14
12 Events in time and space
17
13 Fossils and correlations
20
14 Rates of geological processes
23
Perspective on time
27
22 The past measured in years
29
23 The geological time scale
32
103 Mesozoic world
204
104 The black shales of the Cretaceous
207
105 Carbon burial carbon isotopes and the atmosphere
210
106 A tale of two oceans
213
Onward to the Ice Age
219
112 A cooling story
221
113 A good and sufficient explanation?
226
114 Rising mountains and the Ice Age
229

24 Dating sedimentary rocks
36
25 Too much time too few events?
37
Perspective
40
the Ice Age
43
The snows of yesteryear
45
Climate and climate change
47
32 Little ice ages
50
33 A brief discourse on the workings of climate
52
34 Filters
58
35 A global greenhouse
60
36 Tomorrows world
61
Portrait of an ice age
66
41 A key to many doors
67
42 Glacialinterglacial cycles
68
43 Icecaps on the world
70
44 Glacial oceans
73
45 The world beyond the ice
74
46 The level of land and sea
77
47 Onset and decline of a glacial period
84
Explaining glaciations
88
51 Causes of glacial and interglacial climates
89
52 Revival of an old idea
90
53 Beyond Milankovitch
94
54 Are the oceans involved?
96
55 Glacial and interglacial greenhouse gases
99
Perspective
102
Drifting continents rising mountains
105
A geological revolution
107
Continental drift and plate tectonics
109
62 Continents and ocean basins
111
63 A daisy chain of hypothesis
114
64 Magnetic anomalies and polarity reversals
117
65 Plate tectonics
121
66 Measuring plate motions
124
67 What drives the plates?
126
68 Postscript to a revolution
127
Continental breakup and continental drift
130
72 Pangaea and Panthalassa
131
73 The face of Pangaea
132
74 Pangaea dismembered
138
75 Domes and hotspots
141
76 Edges of rifts and margins of continents
147
Converging plates and colliding continents
151
closing the third Atlantic
157
83 Flotsam and jetsam
160
84 The fate of the subducted slab
164
85 Continents colliding
165
Perspective
170
Changing oceans changing climates
173
Continental drift and ancient environments
175
The sea comes in the sea goes out
177
92 Vast and shallow seas
178
93 A major transgression
183
94 The continental margin as a sea level gauge
185
95 Sequence stratigraphy and the Vail sea level curve
186
96 Causes of eustatic sea level changes
189
97 A view from the craton
192
Other times and other oceans
196
102 Continental drift and ocean circulation
202
A matter of rhythm
234
122 Refining the past
235
123 Good old Milankovitch
237
124 The pulse of the earth
244
Perspective
249
For further reading
250
The fourbillionyear childhood
253
The years when nearly everything began
255
Birth of the solid earth
257
131 Down below where no one can go
258
132 Before history
259
133 The first continents
264
134 A time of growth
268
135 Time and plate tectonics
271
Water for the sea air for the atmosphere
274
142 An incomplete history of seawater
277
143 Deepsea hotsprings
278
144 The early atmosphere
280
145 Oxygen
281
146 Life and the atmosphere
284
147 A weak and pale sun
287
The dawn of life
292
152 The next step
295
153 The first organisms
296
154 Prokaryotes and eukaryotes
297
155 An atmosphere fit to breathe
301
156 Life in the Proterozoic
305
Perspective
308
Life time and change
311
The endless interaction
313
Beyond Darwin
315
161 The organization of organisms
316
162 Principles
319
163 Elaborations
322
164 New approaches
325
Bones of our ancestors
331
172 Only in the sea
334
173 Across the shore and into the hills
338
174 From mouse to man
343
175 The final step?
345
Evolution and environment
348
181 Conquest of the sea
349
182 The Cambrian explosion
351
183 Shells and skeletons
354
184 The lure of muddy bottoms
355
185 The first green spring
360
186 Evolution and continental drift
365
Crises and catastrophes
371
192 The Permian marine collapse
376
193 The great Cretaceous dying
382
194 The bolides are falling
386
195 Giant impacts and great volcanoes
388
196 Sudden drama or natural inevitability?
389
Perspective
392
Epilogue
395
Glossary
405
Sources of illustrations
417
Index
425
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