NAKED EARTH by Shawna Vogel


The New Geophysics
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 A superbly written and informative account that gives geophysics the excitement of a science-adventure tale. Vogel, a former associate editor for Discover magazine, clearly has a love affair going with earthquakes, volcanoes, and tectonic plates. Her infectious enthusiasm and lucid prose make this debut an engaging page-turner. ``The earth is the main character of this book,'' she tells us, and it is, as the author breathes life into scientific theory, portraying our world in a constant process of change. The text is well organized and gives just enough information for the science enthusiast, never too much. Vogel begins with the familiar--earthquakes--and builds our understanding of what they are and why they happen. She takes us into the not-so-distant past when plate tectonics was still a new, cutting-edge theory; she then shows us the enormous amount of supporting data that was gained from ocean mapping done by warships and submarines during WW II and the Cold War. She explains the interrelationship between the earth's mantle and its magnetic core; hot spots and the plumes that form ocean mountains; and how these affected the breakup of Pangea, the supercontinent that once incorporated all of what today are separate land masses. Returning to the present, she also describes the way the earth releases heat and the effect of asteroids on geophysics. Vogel makes it clear that we are living in a tiny period of history along the larger geophysical continuum: ``Efforts to `save the earth' should properly be termed `save our species.' With or without our survival, the earth will continue for eons.'' Dynamic and unpretentious, this is the kind of book that teaches us to be curious about the unfamiliar.

Pub Date: May 22nd, 1995
ISBN: 0-525-93771-4
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995