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COSMOS magazine

Douglas Palmer

Earth Time

Those learning geology will learn the names of the geologic periods and these may seem to be 'set in stone'. In 'Earth Time', Douglas Palmer shows that in fact there were many disputes in the process of deciding upon the currently accepted divisions of geological time.

The first part of the book looks at the Phanerozoic eon - that is the Cambrian Period to the present, and tells mostly of the history of geology in Britain. The second part is more wide ranging, starting with the formation of the earth, and although it is based on a jorney into the Grand Canyon, in fact it takes a more global view.

I have to say that I struggled a bit reading this book. Since the thread of the first part is based on the geological divisions of time, the history aspect tended to jump about - it might go from the twentieth century back to the work of an eighteenth century scientist, and I found this confusing. When I started reading it looked as if it was going to be based on the journey of William Smith from London to North Wales, but this was only mentioned sporadically. It's a pity, since it would have helped to give a better thread to the book. As it is the book would be useful to those who have studied some geology - for instance those who have read several other books on the subject, for whom this book would help to pull the story together. However I would not recommend it for beginners.

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Paperback 358 pages  
ISBN: 0470022213
Salesrank: 4983601
Weight:1.21 lbs
Published: 2005 Wiley
Amazon price $5.93
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Paperback 358 pages  
ISBN: 0470022213
Salesrank: 2267226
Weight:1.21 lbs
Published: 2005 John Wiley & Sons
Amazon price £14.22
Marketplace:New from £8.43:Used from £0.43
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 358 pages  
ISBN: 0470022213
Salesrank: 3762940
Weight:1.21 lbs
Published: 2005 Wiley
Amazon price CDN$ 25.99
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 8.19:Used from CDN$ 7.00
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Product Description
The dramatic history of planet Earth and the rocky road to understanding the past
  • A probing account of the history of the earth and an introduction to the many eccentric characters that have attempted to understand its origins.
  • Full of fascinating anecdotes about 19th century explorers and natural philosophers who first carved up Earth's history just as others were carving up the globe.
  • Unravels the fascinating history of rock strata and the implications they have had on accepted theories on the Earth's life.
  • Considers the future of the earth, and what a repeat of some of the catastrophic events of the earth's past, such as major earthquakes and asteroid collisions, could mean for life today.