From Scientific American
"Geology underlies everything: it founds the landscape, dictates the agriculture, determines the character of villages." Fortey, senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London, set out to explore those connections. "My solution has been to visit particular places, to explore their natural and human history in an intimate way, thence to move to the deeper motor of the earth--to show how the lie of the land responds to a deeper beat, a slow and fundamental pulse." His stops as he takes the reader on a journey around the world include Mount Vesuvius, the Alps, Newfoundland, Los Angeles and the Deccan Traps in India. He is an eloquent guide"
Editors of Scientific American
From the Inside Flap
From the acclaimed author of "Life and "Trilobite!, a fascinating geological exploration of the earth's distant history as revealed by its natural wonders.
The face of the earth, crisscrossed by chains of mountains like the scars of old wounds, has changed and changed again over billions of years, and the testament of the remote past is all around us. In this book Richard Fortey teaches us how to read its character, laying out the dominions of the world before us. He shows how human culture and natural history-even the shape of cities-are rooted in this deep geological past.
In search of this past, Fortey takes us through the Alps, into Icelandic hot springs, down to the ocean floor, over the barren rocks of Newfoundland, into the lush ecosystems of Hawai'i, across the salt flats of Oman, and along the San Andreas Fault. On the slopes of Vesuvius, he tracks the history of the region down through the centuries?to volcanic eruptions seen by fifteenth-century Italians, the Romans, and, from striking geological evidence, even Neolithic man. As story adds to story, the recent past connects with forgotten ages long ago, then much longer ago, as he describes the movement of plates and the development of ancient continents and seas. Nothing in this book is at rest. The surface of the earth dilates and collapses; seas and mountains rise and fall; continents move.
Fortey again proves himself the ideal guide, with his superb descriptions of natural beauty, his gripping narratives, and his crystal-clear, always fascinating scientific explanations.
Here is a book to change the way we see the world.
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