Plate Tectonics and Great Earthquakes by Lynn R. SykesThe theory of plate tectonics transformed earth science. The hypothesis that the earth's outermost layers consist of mostly rigid plates that move over an inner surface helped describe the growth of new seafloor, confirm continental drift, and explain why earthquakes and volcanoes occur in some places and not others. Lynn R. Sykes played a key role in the birth of plate tectonics, conducting revelatory research on earthquakes. In this book, he gives an invaluable insider's perspective on the theory's development and its implications. Sykes combines lucid explanation of how plate tectonics revolutionized geology with unparalleled personal reflections. He entered the field when it was on the cusp of radical discoveries. Studying the distribution and mechanisms of earthquakes, Sykes pioneered the identification of seismic gaps--regions that have not ruptured in great earthquakes for a long time--and methods to estimate the possibility of quake recurrence. He recounts the various phases of his career, including his antinuclear activism, and the stories of colleagues around the world who took part in changing the paradigm. Sykes delves into the controversies over earthquake prediction and their importance, especially in the wake of the giant 2011 Japanese earthquake and the accompanying Fukushima disaster. He highlights geology's lessons for nuclear safety, explaining why historic earthquake patterns are crucial to understanding the risks to power plants. Plate Tectonics and Great Earthquakes is the story of a scientist witnessing a revolution and playing an essential role in making it.
Call Number: QE534.3 .S95 2019
Earth System Science by Tim LentonWhen humanity first glimpsed planet Earth from space, the unity of the system that supports humankind entered the popular consciousness. The concept of the Earth's atmosphere, biosphere, oceans, soil, and rocks operating as a closely interacting system has rapidly gained ground in science.This new field, involving geographers, geologists, biologists, oceanographers, and atmospheric physicists, is known as Earth System Science.In this Very Short Introduction, Tim Lenton considers how a world in which humans could evolve was created; how, as a species, we are now reshaping that world; and what a sustainable future for humanity within the Earth System might look like. Drawing on elements of geology, biology, chemistry,physics, and mathematics, Lenton asks whether Earth System Science can help guide us onto a sustainable course before we alter the Earth system to the point where we destroy ourselves and our current civilisation.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Cataclysms by Michael R. RampinoIn 1980, the science world was stunned when a maverick team of researchers proposed that a massive meteor strike had wiped the dinosaurs and other fauna from the Earth 66 million years ago. Scientists found evidence for this theory in a "crater of doom" on the Yucatán Peninsula, showing that our planet had once been a target in a galactic shooting gallery. In Cataclysms, Michael R. Rampino builds on the latest findings from leading geoscientists to take "neocatastrophism" a step further, toward a richer understanding of the science behind major planetary upheavals and extinction events. Rampino recounts his conversion to the impact hypothesis, describing his visits to meteor-strike sites and his review of the existing geological record. The new geology he outlines explicitly rejects nineteenth-century "uniformitarianism," which casts planetary change as gradual and driven by processes we can see at work today. Rampino offers a cosmic context for Earth's geologic evolution, in which cataclysms from above in the form of comet and asteroid impacts and from below in the form of huge outpourings of lava in flood-basalt eruptions have led to severe and even catastrophic changes to the Earth's surface. This new geology sees Earth's position in our solar system and galaxy as the keys to understanding our planet's geology and history of life. Rampino concludes with a controversial consideration of dark matter's potential as a triggering mechanism, exploring its role in heating Earth's core and spurring massive volcanism throughout geologic time.
Publication Date: 2017
Why Geology Matters by Doug MacdougallVolcanic dust, climate change, tsunamis, earthquakes--geoscience explores phenomena that profoundly affect our lives. But more than that, as Doug Macdougall makes clear, the science also provides important clues to the future of the planet. In an entertaining and accessibly written narrative, Macdougall gives an overview of Earth's astonishing history based on information extracted from rocks, ice cores, and other natural archives. He explores such questions as: What is the risk of an asteroid striking Earth? Why does the temperature of the ocean millions of years ago matter today? How are efforts to predict earthquakes progressing? Macdougall also explains the legacy of greenhouse gases from Earth's past and shows how that legacy shapes our understanding of today's human-caused climate change. We find that geoscience in fact illuminates many of today's most pressing issues--the availability of energy, access to fresh water, sustainable agriculture, maintaining biodiversity--and we discover how, by applying new technologies and ideas, we can use it to prepare for the future.