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Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth

by Marcia Bjornerud

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1835124,374 (3.89)6
This armchair guide to the making of the geologic record shows how to understand messages written in stone. To many of us, the Earth's crust is a relic of ancient, unknowable history--but to a geologist, stones are richly illustrated narratives, telling gothic tales of cataclysm and reincarnation. For more than four billion years, in beach sand, granite, and garnet schists, the planet has kept a rich and idiosyncratic journal of its past. Fulbright Scholar Bjornerud takes the reader along on an eye-opening tour of Deep Time, explaining what we see and feel beneath our feet. Both scientist and storyteller, Bjornerud uses anecdotes and metaphors to remind us that our home is a living thing with lessons to teach. She shows how our planet has long maintained a delicate balance, and how the global give-and-take has sustained life on Earth through numerous upheavals.--From publisher description.… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
An excellent introduction to geology from the kind of teacher I wish I had in school. She is able to combine elements in unexpected ways to demonstrate a point: "Today, the descendants of some of these anaerobic organisms thrive in environments like swamps, the depths of stagnant water bodies, and the stomachs of ruminants like cattle, where the local environment more closely resembles Earth's early atmosphere." Statements like this certainly stay with you. Or the nominative determinism of: "Sedimentologists spend a lot of time disaggregating clastic sedimentary rocks and determining their grain sizes by passing the particles through ever-finer sieves. Appropriately, on of the leading sandstone experts of the last half century is Harvard's Raymond Siever.".
This book is recommended for people with some knowledge of science, but is an excellent introduction to geology and the history of our planet. This book is recomeneded for general collections, public libraries and high school and college libraries. I enjoyed it. ( )
  hadden | Jan 27, 2020 |
This is a highly readable introduction to geology. Plenty of depth without being dry. The author's focus is on what the rocks tell us about the earth and the ways it has changed over time. I got it because it was recommended by the writer of the blog "En Tequila es Verdad", and I'm glad I did. ( )
  pspearing | Nov 24, 2012 |
A small book that opens up the world of geology. Author includes a dictionary in the back to add in the understanding. With just a little geology knowledge the Earth opens up for you and you learn how to read it's history. So many rock formations, etc that just looked beautiful or even odd, now make more sense. I will definitely continue to learn more about the fascinating science. ( )
  dichosa | Apr 17, 2009 |
An exceptionally good geology book that I recommend unreservedly.

What made this so engrossing was that rather than just telling us the currently understood structure and history of the earth, the author, much like Andrew Knoll, focusses on telling us how we know what we know.

My one suggestion is that you bail out about three pages before the second-to-last chapter. The last chapter, and the last few pages of the second-to-last chapter switch from this beautiful expository style to the usual round of ecological scolding about the state of the earth, material I mostly agree with but really don't want to read yet again. ( )
2 vote name99 | Nov 18, 2006 |
This book explains many geology concepts with examples taken from everyday life. This book is thoughtfully written and a real pleasure to read. ( )
  patrisi | Oct 20, 2006 |
Showing 5 of 5
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This armchair guide to the making of the geologic record shows how to understand messages written in stone. To many of us, the Earth's crust is a relic of ancient, unknowable history--but to a geologist, stones are richly illustrated narratives, telling gothic tales of cataclysm and reincarnation. For more than four billion years, in beach sand, granite, and garnet schists, the planet has kept a rich and idiosyncratic journal of its past. Fulbright Scholar Bjornerud takes the reader along on an eye-opening tour of Deep Time, explaining what we see and feel beneath our feet. Both scientist and storyteller, Bjornerud uses anecdotes and metaphors to remind us that our home is a living thing with lessons to teach. She shows how our planet has long maintained a delicate balance, and how the global give-and-take has sustained life on Earth through numerous upheavals.--From publisher description.

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