TALES OF THE EARTH by Charles Officer

TALES OF THE EARTH

Great Events in Geologic History
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 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. (Thirty-eight line drawings and seventeen halftones)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-19-507785-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993




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