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."; include "amazinf.php"; ?>