Science

The basic idea ;Seafloor spreading and magnetic anomalies ;Fracture zones and transform faults ;Subduction of oceanic lithosphere ;Rigid plates of lithosphere ;Tectonics of continents ;Tectonics of continents ;Further reading ;Index

Author: Peter Molnar

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 136

View: 582

Plate tectonics caused a revolution in our understanding of the Earth. It has aided our understanding of why earthquakes and volcanoes are found in distinct locations, how oceans form and disappear, and how mountain ranges were built. In this volume, Peter Molnar explores the history and significance of plate tectonics.
Plate tectonics

Plate Tectonics

Author: Peter Hale Molnar

Publisher:

ISBN:

Category: Plate tectonics

Page:

View: 466

Plate tectonics caused a revolution in our understanding of the Earth. It has aided our understanding of why earthquakes and volcanoes are found in distinct locations, how oceans form and disappear, and how mountain ranges were built. In this volume, Peter Molnar explores the history and significance of plate tectonics.
Science

The Earth: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Martin Redfern

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 160

View: 838

For generations, the ground beneath the feet of our ancestors seemed solid and unchanging. Around 30 years ago, two things happened that were to revolutionize the understanding of our home planet. First, geologists realized that the continents themselves were drifting across the surface of the globe and that oceans were being created and destroyed. Secondly, pictures of the entire planet were returned from space. As the astronomer Fred Hoyle had predicted, this 'let loose an idea as powerful as any in history'. Suddenly, the Earth began to be viewed as a single entity; a dynamic, interacting whole, controlled by complex processes we scarcely understood. It began to seem less solid. As one astronaut put it, 'a blue jewel on black velvet; small, fragile and touchingly alone'. Geologists at last were able to see the whole as well as the detail; the wood as well as the trees. This book brings their account up to date with the latest understanding of the processes that govern our planet. 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
History

Landscapes and Geomorphology: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Andrew Goudie

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN:

Category: History

Page: 137

View: 451

Examining what landscape is, and how we use a range of ideas and techniques to study it, Andrew Goudie and Heather Viles demonstrate how geomorphologists have built on classic methods pioneered by some great 19th century scientists to examine our Earth.
Science

Rocks: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Jan Zalasiewicz

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 798

Rocks, more than anything else, underpin our lives. They make up the solid structure of the Earth and of other rocky planets, and are present at the cores of gas giant planets. We live on the rocky surface of the planet, grow our food on weathered debris derived from rocks, and we obtain nearly all of the raw materials with which we found our civilization from rocks. From the Earth's crust to building bricks, rocks contain our sense of planetary history, and are a guide to our future. In this Very Short Introduction Jan Zalsiewicz looks at the nature and variety of rocks, and the processes by which they are formed. Starting from the origin of rocks and their key role in the formation of the Earth, he considers what we know about the deep rocks of the mantle and core, and what rocks can tell us about the evolution of the Earth, and looks at those found in outer space and on other planets. 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Science

Oceans: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Dorrik Stow

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 150

View: 374

The importance of the oceans to life on Earth cannot be overstated. Liquid water covers more than 70% of our planet's surface and, in past geological time, has spread over 85%. Life on Earth began in the oceans over 3.5 billion years ago and remained there for the great majority of that time. Today the seas still provide 99% of habitable living space, the largest repository of biomass, and holds the greatest number of undiscovered species on the planet. Our oceans are vital for the regulation of climate, and with global warming and decreasing land area, they have become increasingly important as the source of food, energy in the form of oil and gas, and for their mineral wealth. Oceans also form a key part of the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and other elements critical to life. Nutrients in upwelling areas are spread by ocean currents, and the plankton of the seas supports a wealth of wildlife. In this Very Short Introduction Dorrik Stow analyses these most important components of our blue planet and considers their relationship with, and exploitation by, humans. He shows how the oceans are an essential resource to our overpopulated world, and discusses why exploration and greater scientific understanding of the oceans, their chemistry, and their mineral wealth are now a high priority. Stow also explores what we know of how oceans originate, and evolve and change; the shape of the seafloor and nature of its cover; the physical processes that stir the waters and mix such a rich chemical broth; and the inseparable link between oceans and climate. As polar ice melts and sea-levels rise, countless millions who have made their homes on low-lying lands close to the sea are threatened. As scientific exploration of the seas gathers pace, the new knowledge gained of the ocean-Earth systems and their interaction with the human environment is vital to our understanding of how we can preserve these ultimately fragile environments. 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Mathematics

Geophysics

Author: William Lowrie

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN:

Category: Mathematics

Page: 160

View: 335

Geophysics is the physics of the Earth. Central to the Earth Sciences today, it encompasses areas such as seismology, volcanism, plate tectonics, gravitational anomalies, and the Earth's magnetic field (present and past, as captured in rocks), all of which give clues to both the structure and the working of the Earth. In this Very Short Introduction, William Lowrie describes the internal and external processes that affect the planet, as well as the principles and methods of geophysics used to investigate them. He explains how analysis of the seismic waves produced in earthquakes reveals the internal structure of the Earth. Geophysicists have established that the greatest source of energy powering geological processes is the Earth's internal heat. Deep inside the Earth, the temperature is high enough to produce a fluid outer core of molten iron. It is the motion in this molten iron layer that produces the Earth's magnetic field, which shields the planet against harmful radiation from the Sun and outer space, and thus makes the planet habitable. Lowrie describes how the magnetic field also magnetizes rocks during their formation, leaving a permanent record of the ancient field and its direction that geophysicists have learned to use to interpret past motions of the continents and tectonic plates. From analyzes of Earth's deepest interior to measurements made from Earth-orbiting satellites, Lowrie shows how geophysical exploration is vitally important in the search for mineral resources, and emphasizes our need to understand the history of our planet and the processes that govern its continuing evolution. 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Science

Plate Tectonics: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Peter Molnar

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 152

View: 323

The 1960s revealed a new and revolutionary idea in geological thought: that the continents drift with respect to one another. After having been dismissed for decades as absurd, the concept gradually became part of geology's basic principles. We now know that the Earth's crust and upper mantle consist of a small number of rigid plates that move, and there are significant boundaries between pairs of plates, usually known as earthquake belts. Plate tectonics now explains much of the structure and phenomena we see today: how oceans form, widen, and disappear; why earthquakes and volcanoes are found in distinct zones which follow plate boundaries; how the great mountain ranges of the world were built. The impact of plate tectonics is studied closely as these processes continue: the Himalaya continues to grow, the Atlantic is widening, and new oceans are forming. In this Very Short Introduction Peter Molnar provides a succinct and authoritative account of the nature and mechanisms of plate tectonics and its impact on our understanding of Earth. 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Earth System Science

Author: Tim Lenton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN:

Category:

Page: 144

View: 875

When 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Science

Biogeography: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Mark V. Lomolino

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 168

View: 678

Biogeography is the study of geographic variation in all characteristics of life - ranging from genetic, morphological and behavioural variation among regional populations of a species, to geographic trends in diversity of entire communities across our planet's sufrace. From the ancient hunters and gatherers to the earliest naturalists, Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, and scientists today, the search for patterns in life has provided insights that proved invaluable for understanding the natural world. And many, if not most, of the compelling kaleidoscope of patterns in biological diversity make little sense unless placed in an explicit geographic context. The Very Short Introduction explains the historical development of the field of biogeography, its fundamental tenets, principles and tools, and the invaluable insights it provides for understanding the diversity of life in the natural world. As Mark Lomolino shows, key questions such as where species occur, how they vary from place to place, where their ancestors occurred, and how they spread across the globe, are essential for us to develop effective strategies for conserving the great menagerie of life across our planet. 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Nature

Fossils: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Keith Thomson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN:

Category: Nature

Page: 147

View: 601

Fossils have been vital to our understanding of the formation of the earth and the origins of all life on it. However, their impact has not been limited to debates about geology and evolution: attempts to explain their existence have shaken religion to its very roots. Keith Thomson provides a remarkably explanation of fossils as a phenomenon. Building on the scientific aspects, he places fossils in a very human context, highlighting their impact on philosophy and mythology, our concept of time, and popular culture. From the black market to the Piltdown Man, and from mythological dragons to living dinosaurs, fossils hold a permanent place in the popular imagination.
Geology

Geology

Author: J. A. Zalasiewicz

Publisher:

ISBN:

Category: Geology

Page:

View: 533

Jan Zalasiewicz introduces the field of geology, its fundamental role in understanding the Earth and other planets, and its economic importance in the finding and exploitation of resources. He explains how geologists work today, and describes major discoveries such as plate tectonics, and the field's exciting frontiers such as the geology of Mars.
Mountain ecology

Mountains

Author: Martin F. Price

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN:

Category: Mountain ecology

Page: 134

View: 125

In this Very Short Introduction, Martin Price addresses the role of mountains in global ecosystems and within human culture. Considering the global effects of melting glaciers, and the conservation of mountain regions and peoples, he discusses the future of mountainous regions and the implications for all of us.
Science

Climate: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Mark Maslin

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 176

View: 275

In this Very Short Introduction, Mark Maslin looks at all aspects of climate, from the physical and chemical factors that drive it and how climate differs from weather, to how climate has affected human settlements and the cyclic features of it. He ends with a look at climate change and our current approaches to solving it.
Science

Geophysics: A Very Short Introduction

Author: William Lowrie

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 600

Geophysics is the physics of the Earth. Central to the Earth Sciences today, it encompasses areas such as seismology, volcanism, plate tectonics, gravitational anomalies, and the Earth's magnetic field (present and past, as captured in rocks), all of which give clues to both the structure and the working of the Earth. In this Very Short Introduction, William Lowrie describes the internal and external processes that affect the planet, as well as the principles and methods of geophysics used to investigate them. He explains how analysis of the seismic waves produced in earthquakes reveals the internal structure of the Earth. Geophysicists have established that the greatest source of energy powering geological processes is the Earth's internal heat. Deep inside the Earth, the temperature is high enough to produce a fluid outer core of molten iron. It is the motion in this molten iron layer that produces the Earth's magnetic field, which shields the planet against harmful radiation from the Sun and outer space, and thus makes the planet habitable. Lowrie describes how the magnetic field also magnetizes rocks during their formation, leaving a permanent record of the ancient field and its direction that geophysicists have learned to use to interpret past motions of the continents and tectonic plates. From analyses of Earth's deepest interior to measurements made from Earth-orbiting satellites, Lowrie shows how geophysical exploration is vitally important in the search for mineral resources, and emphasizes our need to understand the history of our planet and the processes that govern its continuing evolution. 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Nature

Volcanoes: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Michael J. Branney

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN:

Category: Nature

Page: 184

View: 518

Volcanoes are some of the most dramatic expressions of the powerful tectonic forces at work in the Earth beneath our feet. But volcanism, a profoundly important feature of Earth, and indeed of other planets and moons too, encompasses much more than just volcanoes themselves. On a planetary scale, volcanism is an indispensable heat release mechanism, which on Earth allows the conditions for life. IIt releases gases into the atmosphere and produces enormous volumes of rock, and spectacular landscapes - landscapes which, during major eruptions, can be completely reshaped in a matter of hours. Through geological time volcanism has shaped both climate and biological evolution, and volcanoes can affect human life, too, for both good and ill. Yet, even after much study, some of the fundamental aspects of volcanicity remain mysterious. This Very Short Introduction takes the readers into the inferno of a racing pyroclastic current, and the heart of a moving lava flow, as understood through the latest scientific research. Exploring how volcanologists forensically decipher how volcanoes work, Michael Branney and Jan Zalasiewicz explain what we do (and don't) understood about the fundamental mechanisms of volcanism, and consider how volcanoes interact with other physical processes on the Earth, with life, and with human society. 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Science

Earth System Science: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Tim Lenton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 352

When 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Science

Geology: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jan Zalasiewicz

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 222

Ranging across the 4.6 billion year history of the planet, geology is the subject that encompasses almost all that we see around us, in one way or another, and also much that we cannot see, beneath our feet, and on other planets. The fruits of geology provide most of the materials that give us shelter, and most of the energy that drives our modern lives. Within the study of geology lie some of the clues to the extraordinary impact our species is going to play out on the planet, in centuries and millennia to come. In this Very Short Introduction Jan Zalasiewicz gives a brief introduction to the fascinating field of geology. Describing how the science developed from its early beginnings, he looks at some of the key discoveries that have transformed it, before delving into its various subfields, such as sedimentology, tectonics, and stratigraphy. Analysing the geological foundations of the Earth, Zalasiewicz explains the interlocking studies of tectonics, geophysics, and igneous and metamorphic petrology and geochemistry; and describes how rocks are dated by radiometric dating. Considering the role and importance of geology in the finding and exploitation of resources (including fracking), he also discusses its place in environmental issues, such as foundations for urban structures and sites for landfill, and in tackling issues associated with climate change. Zalasiewicz concludes by discussing the exciting future and frontiers of the field, such as the exploration of the geology of Mars. 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Science

Dinosaurs: A Very Short Introduction

Author: David Norman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 950

Dinosaurs are fascinating creatures and their popularity seems never ending, fuelled by films such as Jurassic Park and documentaries such as Walking with Dinosaurs. Yet dinosaurs (or more precisely non-avian dinosaurs) last trod the Earth 65 million years ago. All we know of them today are their fossilised bones, the tracks and traces that they left behind and, in very rare instances, some of the soft tissues or even traces of their chemistry. In many respects dinosaurs present us with one of the ultimate forensic challenges: they comprise the fragmentary remains of creatures that died many tens of millions of years ago, rather than just recently, or a few tens of years ago, which is the problem usually faced by forensic pathologists. How much do we really know about them, and to what extent can their remains inform us about ancient worlds, and indeed about the history of our planet? In this Very Short Introduction David Norman discusses how dinosaurs were first discovered and interpreted, and how our understanding of them has changed over the past 200 years. He looks at some of the amazing discoveries that have enabled us to gain new and unexpected insights into dinosaurs as animals with natural histories and behaviours, and considers some of the biggest questions in dinosaur biology, such as the implications of them having warm blood. Norman also shows how research upon dinosaurs has been enriched, particularly in recent decades, by technological break-throughs, which complement the informed speculation and luck which have played a part in many of the major discoveries. 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.