Search results for: geology-a-very-short-introduction

Geology A Very Short Introduction

Author : Jan Zalasiewicz
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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.

Rocks a Very Short Introduction

Author : Jan Zalasiewicz
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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.

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
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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.

Earth System Science

Author : Tim Lenton
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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.

Planets A Very Short Introduction

Author : David A. Rothery
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This Very Short Introduction discusses the nature of planets and gas giants, and their rings and moons. It also looks beyond Pluto, in the Kuiper Belt, at the knowledge we have about planets around other stars. With many striking photos to illustrate the details, it demonstrates the unique world of every planet.

Volcanoes

Author : Michael J. Branney
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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.

Anthropocene

Author : Erle C. Ellis
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Climate scientists, geologists, ecologists, and archaeologists recognize the profound effects of human activity on Earth, though whether and how this should be recognized as a formal geological epoch - the Anthropocene - remains under debate, Erle Ellis describes how the Anthropocene concept is affecting the sciences, humanities, and politics.

Glaciation a Very Short Introduction

Author : David J. A. Evans
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Vast, majestic, and often stunningly beautiful, glaciers lock up some 10% of the world's freshwater. These great bodies of ice play an important part in the Earth system, carving landscapes and influencing climate on regional and hemispheric scales, as well as having a significant impact on global sea level. Throughout time, the Earth has experienced various major glaciations in its deep history, long before the ice ages of the Quaternary, and the observed effects of climate change on glaciers have recently brought them to the forefront of public attention. This Very Short Introduction offers an overview of glaciers and ice sheets as systems, considering the role of geomorphology and sedimentology in studying them, and their impacts on our planet in terms of erosional and depositional processes. Looking at our glaciers today, and their ongoing processes, David Evans considers the extent to which we can use this knowledge in reconstructing and interpreting ancient glacial landscapes. 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.

Fossils A Very Short Introduction

Author : Keith Thomson
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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 has shaken religion at its very roots, and they have remained a subject of ceaseless fascination for people of all ages and backgrounds. In this delightful book, Keith Thomson provides a remarkably all-encompassing explanation of fossils as a phenomenon. How did Darwin use fossils to support his theory of evolution? What are 'living fossils'? What fossils will we leave behind for future generations to examine? 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 today's popular culture. What quickly becomes obvious is that the discovery of fossils and the ways in which they have been interpreted over time makes for fascinating reading. From the black market to the Piltdown Man, and from mythological dragons to living dinosaurs, fossils hold a permanent place in the popular imagination. 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.

Fire a Very Short Introduction

Author : Andrew C. Scott
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Fire is rarely out of the headlines, from large natural wildfires raging across the Australian or Californian countrysides to the burning of buildings such as the disasters of Grenfell tower and Notre Dame. Fire on these scales can represent a serious risk to human life and property. But the advent of fire made and controlled by humans also represented a crucial point in our evolution, allowing us to cook our food, forge our weapons, and warm our homes. This Very Short Introduction covers the fundamentals of fire, whether wild or under human control, starting with the basics of ignition, combustion, and fuel. Andrew Scott considers both natural wildfires and the role of humans in making and suppressing fire. Despite frightening reports of wildfire destruction, he also shows how landscape fires have been part of our planet's history for 400 million years, and do not always have to be extinguished. He also considers the problem of fires in urban settings, including new ways to prevent fires. The cost of wildfire can be steep - as well as the burning, post-fire erosion and flooding can have a great impact on both humans and the environment. It can also have a lasting effect in shaping ecosystems and plant life. Scott ends by examining the relationship between fire and the climate, and considering the future of wildfire in a warming world. 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.

Landscapes and Geomorphology A Very Short Introduction

Author : Andrew Goudie
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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.

Plate Tectonics A Very Short Introduction

Author : Peter Molnar
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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.

Astrobiology A Very Short Introduction

Author : David C. Catling
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Examines the origins of life on Earth and the search for extraterrestrial life, through an understanding of the factors that have allowed life to exist on this planet and the commonalities on others that may enable life elsewhere.

The Earth A Very Short Introduction

Author : Martin Redfern
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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.

Radioactivity A Very Short Introduction

Author : Claudio Tuniz
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Radioactivity - the breakdown of unstable atomic nuclei, releasing radiation - is a fundamental process in nature, and used to provide important applications in science, medicine, and energy production. But it remains misunderstood and feared. In this Very Short Introduction, Claudio Tuniz explains the nature and mechanisms of radioactivity.

Minerals A Very Short Introduction

Author : David Vaughan
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Minerals existed long before any forms of life, playing a key role in the origin and evolution of life; an interaction with biological systems that we are only now beginning to understand. Exploring the traditional strand of mineralogy, which emphasises the important mineral families, the well-established analytical methods (optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction) and the dramatic developments made in techniques over recent decades, David Vaughan also introduces the modern strand of mineralogy, which explores the role minerals play in the plate tectonic cycle and how they interact with the living world. Demonstrating how minerals can be critical for human health and illness by providing essential nutrients and releasing poisons, Vaughan explores the multitude of ways in which minerals have aided our understanding of the world. 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.

Climate Change

Author : Mark Maslin
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Previous editions published as: Global warming.

The Scientific Revolution A Very Short Introduction

Author : Lawrence Principe
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Lawrence M. Principe takes a fresh approach to the story of the scientific revolution, emphasising the historical context of the society and its world view at the time. From astronomy to alchemy and medicine to geology, he tells this fascinating story from the perspective of the historical characters involved.

Coral Reefs

Author : Charles Sheppard
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Coral reefs are among the most biodiverse of ecosystems. Charles Sheppard tells the fascinating story of how and where coral reefs are formed and the diversity of marine life they support. He also highlights the threats they face due to exploitation and the conservation efforts in place to tackle these issues.

The Ice Age A Very Short Introduction

Author : Jamie Woodward
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The study of the Quaternary ice age has revolutionized ideas about Earth system change and the pace of landscape and ecosystem dynamics. The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction looks at evidence from the continents, the oceans, and the ice core records, and the human stories behind it all. Jamie Woodward examines the remarkable environmental shifts that took place during the Great Ice Age of the Quaternary Period. He explores the evolution of ideas, evaluates the contributions of the leading players in the great debates, and presents some of the ingenious methods that have been used to retrieve information about the recent geological past. In an era of warming climate, the study of the ice age past is now more important than ever. This book examines the wonders of the Quaternary ice age - to show how ice age landscapes and ecosystems were repeatedly and rapidly transformed as plants, animals, and humans reorganized their worlds. 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.