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Geology in Motion
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Richard Hamblyn

Jan Zalasiewicz

The Planet in a Pebble

A pebble might seem the most ordinary sort of object, but in The Planet in a Pebble: A Journey into Earth's Deep History Jan Zalasiewicz shows how the formation of a single pebble is a story going back billions of years.

The book takes as its subject a slate pebble found on a beach in Wales. First we hear how its elements were formed in a supernova before the formation of the planets, and how they came to be part of the Earth's crust. The falling of sediments in an ancient ocean brought them together, creating the veins of quartz visible in the pebble. But that wasn't the end, liquid percolating through the rock left its own traces, and the rock had to descend deep into the earth and then ascend again before a piece of rock could chip off a cliff in Wales to form the pebble. Throughout the book Zalasiewicz tells of how the timing of the various stages has been worked out, using evidence from isotopes and from fossils.

I found the subject interesting, but sometimes found the style a bit heavy going. It would have been good to have more ways of keeping track of the life of the pebble, such as a timeline at the start of each chapter. So I'd recommend it for those with an interest in geology, but possibly not for a wider readership.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 234 pages  
ISBN: 0199569703
Salesrank: 1649468
Weight:0.97 lbs
Published: 2010 Oxford University Press
Marketplace:New from $35.00:Used from $4.64
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 0199569703
Salesrank: 793185
Weight:0.97 lbs
Published: 2010 OUP Oxford
Marketplace:New from £52.21:Used from £6.34
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 0199569703
Salesrank: 906584
Weight:0.97 lbs
Published: 2010 Oxford University Press
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 82.25:Used from CDN$ 15.22
Buy from Amazon.ca





Product Description
This is the story of a single pebble, whose history carries us into abyssal depths of time, and across the farthest reaches of space. Indeed, starting from this tiny, common speck, Jan Zalasiewicz offers readers a stimulating tour that begins with the Universe's dramatic birth in the unimaginable violence of the Big Bang and explores the construction of the Solar System and the origins of our own planet. Zalasiewicz shows the almost incredible complexity present in the apparently mundane pebble, starting with the astonishing number of atoms in each. We learn that many events in the Earth's ancient past can be deciphered from a pebble: volcanic eruptions; the lives and deaths of extinct animals and plants; the alien nature of long-vanished oceans; and even the creations of fool's gold and oil deep underground. Zalasiewicz also demonstrates how geologists reach deep into the Earth's past by forensic analysis of even the tiniest amounts of mineral matter. The pebble may be small, and ordinary, but it is also an eloquent part of our Earth's extraordinary, never-ending story.