Reading the Rocks

The Autobiography of the Earth

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Reading the Rocks (2006, Basic Books)

237 pages

English language

Published Oct. 19, 2006 by Basic Books.


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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.

2 editions