Tales of the Earth

Tales of the Earth : Paroxysms and Perturbations of the Blue Planet

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Global change, a term unheard of only a few years ago, is now a standard phrase. One of the best ways to understand global changes, and to keep alive concern for the environment, is to look at significant examples in the past where nature has affected humans, and in turn, where humans have affected nature. In this monograph, Charles Officer and Jack Page describe some of the great events of environmental history, blending accounts by interested observers with clear explanations of the science involved. The "tales" range from descriptions of earthquakes and catastrophic volcanic eruptions - proving that the Earth is still hot and moving - to accounts of floods and Ice Ages, meteors and comets, extinctions and plagues, smogs and the present-day depletion of the ozone layer. Proving that climate change is nothing new, and providing instances as diverse as the plague described in Boccaccio's "Decameron" to the Chernobyl disaster, this book should interest anyone concerned with the environment or the natural world.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 239 pages
  • 165.1 x 238.76 x 22.86mm | 1,133.98g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • line figures
  • 0195077857
  • 9780195077858

Table of contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; Part One: Nature's effect on man; the earth is still hot and mobile; And from time to time its surface moves around; There have been frequent flooding and sea-level change events on earth; And occasional visitors from outer space; Part Two: Changes in climate and life on earth: The eartg's climate changes on a variety of time scales; And on rare occasions there are changes in its community of living things; Part Three: Man's effect on nature; Then along cam man and man has effected vast environmental chantes on a local and regional scale; With the potential for equally great changes on a global scale; The most fundamental question facing mankind today is whether man can evolve to live in harmony with nature; References; Index.show more

About Charles B. Officer

About the Authors: Charles Officer is Research Professor in the Earth Sciences Department and Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. Jake Page writes a column for Destination Discovery called "Jake's Page." He has written for Smithsonian, National Geographic, Reader's Digest, and many other magazines.show more

Review Text

Big-league environmental events - chronicled in absorbing, illuminating style by Officer (Earth Sciences & Engineering/Dartmouth) and Page (Songs to Birds, reviewed below, etc.). The authors present a grab bag of awesome earthly happenings, concentrating on events so stupendous that they changed the course of history, or are in the process of doing so: the volcanic eruptions of Santorini and Tambora (with a look at continental drift); the Black Plague; dinosaur extinction; human impact on the face of the Earth, and so on. Along their way - which moves roughly from geologic to climatic to human-inspired events - Officer and Page lace their narrative with numerous astonishing, if lesser-scaled, incidents from blue snow to purple haze, and they maintain their poise while tackling such meaty topics as paleomagnetism and isotope geochemistry. The authors get beyond simple (or knotty) mechanics by supplying the historical context, allowing the events to take on a life of their own. Unwieldy theories like plate tectonics are dissected with ease, and many of the discussions are almost allegorical in power - e.g., on population and resource-use - which is appropriate considering that Officer and Page throw light upon numerous biblical miracles (such as the parting of the Red Sea, which they speculate may have resulted from waters bulging up from deep-sea seismic disturbances, combined with lunar attraction). A work of science that reads like a good mystery - and that's entertainment. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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10 ratings
3.2 out of 5 stars
5 10% (1)
4 40% (4)
3 20% (2)
2 20% (2)
1 10% (1)
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