New Views on an Old Planet

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Oct 28, 1994 - Science - 439 pages
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
11
12 Events in time and space
15
13 Fossils and correlations
18
14 Rates of geological processes
21
Perspective on time
25
22 The past measured in years
27
23 The geological time scale
30
24 Dating sedimentary rocks
34
103 Mesozoic world
202
104 The black shales of the Cretaceous
205
105 Carbon burial carbon isotopes and the atmosphere
208
106 A tale of two oceans
211
Onward to the Ice Age
217
112 A cooling story
219
113 A good and sufficient explanation?
224
114 Rising mountains and the Ice Age
227

25 Too much time too few events?
35
Perspective
38
the Ice Age
41
The snows of yesteryear
43
Climate and climate change
45
32 Little ice ages
48
33 A brief discourse on the workings of climate
50
34 Filters
56
35 A global greenhouse
58
36 Tomorrows world
59
Portrait of an ice age
64
41 A key to many doors
65
42 Glacialinterglacial cycles
66
43 Icecaps on the world
68
44 Glacial oceans
71
45 The world beyond the ice
72
46 The level of land and sea
75
47 Onset and decline of a glacial period
82
Explaining glaciations
86
51 Causes of glacial and interglacial climates
87
52 Revival of an old idea
88
53 Beyond Milankovitch
92
54 Are the oceans involved?
94
55 Glacial and interglacial greenhouse gases
97
Perspective
100
Drifting continents rising mountains
103
A geological revolution
105
Continental drift and plate tectonics
107
62 Continents and ocean basins
109
63 A daisy chain of hypothesis
112
64 Magnetic anomalies and polarity reversals
115
65 Plate tectonics
119
66 Measuring plate motions
122
67 What drives the plates?
124
68 Postscript to a revolution
125
Continental breakup and continental drift
128
72 Pangaea and Panthalassa
129
73 The face of Pangaea
130
74 Pangaea dismembered
136
75 Domes and hotspots
139
76 Edges of rifts and margins of continents
145
Converging plates and colliding continents
149
closing the third Atlantic
155
83 Flotsam and jetsam
158
84 The fate of the subducted slab
162
85 Continents colliding
163
Perspective
168
Changing oceans changing climates
171
Continental drift and ancient environments
173
The sea comes in the sea goes out
175
92 Vast and shallow seas
176
93 A major transgression
181
94 The continental margin as a sea level gauge
183
95 Sequence stratigraphy and the Vail sea level curve
184
96 Causes of eustatic sea level changes
187
97 A view from the craton
190
Other times and other oceans
194
102 Continental drift and ocean circulation
200
A matter of rhythm
232
122 Refining the past
233
123 Good old Milankovitch
235
124 The pulse of the earth
242
Perspective
247
For further reading
248
The fourbillionyear childhood
251
The years when nearly everything began
253
Birth of the solid earth
255
132 Before history
257
133 The first continents
262
134 A time of growth
266
135 Time and plate tectonics
269
Water for the sea air for the atmosphere
272
142 An incomplete history of seawater
275
143 Deepsea hotsprings
276
144 The early atmosphere
278
145 Oxygen
279
146 Life and the atmosphere
282
147 A weak and pale sun
285
The dawn of life
290
152 The next step
293
153 The first organisms
294
154 Prokaryotes and eukaryotes
295
155 An atmosphere fit to breathe
299
156 Life in the Proterozoic
303
Perspective
306
Life time and change
309
The endless interaction
311
Beyond Darwin
313
162 Principles
317
163 Elaborations
320
164 New approaches
323
Bones of our ancestors
329
172 Only in the sea
332
173 Across the shore and into the hills
336
174 From mouse to man
341
175 The final step?
343
Evolution and environment
346
181 Conquest of the sea
347
182 The Cambrian explosion
349
183 Shells and skeletons
352
184 The lure of muddy bottoms
353
185 The first green spring
358
186 Evolution and continental drift
363
Crises and catastrophes
369
192 The Permian marine collapse
374
193 The great Cretaceous dying
380
194 The bolides are falling
384
195 Giant impacts and great volcanoes
386
196 Sudden drama or natural inevitability?
387
Perspective
390
Epilogue
393
Glossary
403
Sources of illustrations
415
Index
423
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