Rocks a Very Short Introduction

"In this Very Short Introduction Jan Zalasiewicz looks at the structure and diversity of rocks, and the processes by which they form.

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Author: Jan Zalasiewicz

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198725190

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 172

Rocks, more than anything else, underpin our lives. They make up the solid structure of the Earth and of other rocky planets, and are present at the cores of gas giant planets. We live on the rocky surface of the planet, grow our food on weathered debris derived from rocks, and we obtain nearly all of the raw materials with which we found our civilization from rocks. From the Earth's crust to building bricks, rocks contain our sense of planetary history, and are a guide to our future. In this Very Short Introduction Jan Zalsiewicz looks at the nature and variety of rocks, and the processes by which they are formed. Starting from the origin of rocks and their key role in the formation of the Earth, he considers what we know about the deep rocks of the mantle and core, and what rocks can tell us about the evolution of the Earth, and looks at those found in outer space and on other planets. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Publisher:

ISBN: 9780198804451

Category:

Page:

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Oceans A Very Short Introduction

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.

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Author: Dorrik Stow

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780191024283

Category: Science

Page: 150

View: 756

The importance of the oceans to life on Earth cannot be overstated. Liquid water covers more than 70% of our planet's surface and, in past geological time, has spread over 85%. Life on Earth began in the oceans over 3.5 billion years ago and remained there for the great majority of that time. Today the seas still provide 99% of habitable living space, the largest repository of biomass, and holds the greatest number of undiscovered species on the planet. Our oceans are vital for the regulation of climate, and with global warming and decreasing land area, they have become increasingly important as the source of food, energy in the form of oil and gas, and for their mineral wealth. Oceans also form a key part of the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and other elements critical to life. Nutrients in upwelling areas are spread by ocean currents, and the plankton of the seas supports a wealth of wildlife. In this Very Short Introduction Dorrik Stow analyses these most important components of our blue planet and considers their relationship with, and exploitation by, humans. He shows how the oceans are an essential resource to our overpopulated world, and discusses why exploration and greater scientific understanding of the oceans, their chemistry, and their mineral wealth are now a high priority. Stow also explores what we know of how oceans originate, and evolve and change; the shape of the seafloor and nature of its cover; the physical processes that stir the waters and mix such a rich chemical broth; and the inseparable link between oceans and climate. As polar ice melts and sea-levels rise, countless millions who have made their homes on low-lying lands close to the sea are threatened. As scientific exploration of the seas gathers pace, the new knowledge gained of the ocean-Earth systems and their interaction with the human environment is vital to our understanding of how we can preserve these ultimately fragile environments. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Earth A Very Short Introduction

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.

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Author: Martin Redfern

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 019157774X

Category: Science

Page: 160

View: 794

For generations, the ground beneath the feet of our ancestors seemed solid and unchanging. Around 30 years ago, two things happened that were to revolutionize the understanding of our home planet. First, geologists realized that the continents themselves were drifting across the surface of the globe and that oceans were being created and destroyed. Secondly, pictures of the entire planet were returned from space. As the astronomer Fred Hoyle had predicted, this 'let loose an idea as powerful as any in history'. Suddenly, the Earth began to be viewed as a single entity; a dynamic, interacting whole, controlled by complex processes we scarcely understood. It began to seem less solid. As one astronaut put it, 'a blue jewel on black velvet; small, fragile and touchingly alone'. Geologists at last were able to see the whole as well as the detail; the wood as well as the trees. This book brings their account up to date with the latest understanding of the processes that govern our planet. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Dinosaurs

"David Norman reveals how scientists combine anatomy, genetics, forensics, and even engineering design to build a picture of what dinosaurs looked like, what they ate, and how they moved and interacted with each other.

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Author: David Norman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198795926

Category:

Page: 192

View: 117

Dinosaurs are fascinating creatures and their popularity seems never ending, fuelled by films such as Jurassic Park and documentaries such as Walking with Dinosaurs. Yet dinosaurs (or more precisely non-avian dinosaurs) last trod the Earth 65 million years ago. All we know of them today are their fossilised bones, the tracks and traces that they left behind and, in very rare instances, some of the soft tissues or even traces of their chemistry. In many respects dinosaurs present us with one of the ultimate forensic challenges: they comprise the fragmentary remains of creatures that died many tens of millions of years ago, rather than just recently, or a few tens of years ago, which is the problem usually faced by forensic pathologists. How much do we really know about them, and to what extent can their remains inform us about ancient worlds, and indeed about the history of our planet? In this Very Short Introduction David Norman discusses how dinosaurs were first discovered and interpreted, and how our understanding of them has changed over the past 200 years. He looks at some of the amazing discoveries that have enabled us to gain new and unexpected insights into dinosaurs as animals with natural histories and behaviours, and considers some of the biggest questions in dinosaur biology, such as the implications of them having warm blood. Norman also shows how research upon dinosaurs has been enriched, particularly in recent decades, by technological break-throughs, which complement the informed speculation and luck which have played a part in many of the major discoveries. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Plants A Very Short Introduction

This Very Short Introduction provides a concise account of the nature of plants, their variety, their evolution, and their importance and uses, stressing the importance of conservation for the future.

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Author: Timothy Walker

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199584062

Category: Science

Page: 129

View: 920

Plants are a fundamental part of the biosphere and their evolution has directly affected animal life, and the Earth's climate. This Very Short Introduction provides a concise account of the nature of plants, their variety, their evolution, and their importance and uses, stressing the importance of conservation for the future.

Earth System Science A Very Short Introduction

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.

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Author: Tim Lenton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780191028960

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 789

When humanity first glimpsed planet Earth from space, the unity of the system that supports humankind entered the popular consciousness. The concept of the Earth's atmosphere, biosphere, oceans, soil, and rocks operating as a closely interacting system has rapidly gained ground in science. This new field, involving geographers, geologists, biologists, oceanographers, and atmospheric physicists, is known as Earth System Science. In this Very Short Introduction, Tim Lenton considers how a world in which humans could evolve was created; how, as a species, we are now reshaping that world; and what a sustainable future for humanity within the Earth System might look like. Drawing on elements of geology, biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, Lenton asks whether Earth System Science can help guide us onto a sustainable course before we alter the Earth system to the point where we destroy ourselves and our current civilisation. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Isotopes

They are central to our understanding of the Earth's past and current processes. Here, Rob Ellam explains the importance and applications of stable and radioactive isotopes.

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Author: Rob Ellam

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198723622

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 733

An isotope is a variant form of a chemical element, containing a different number of neutrons in its nucleus. Most elements exist as several isotopes. Many are stable while others are radioactive, and some may only exist fleetingly before decaying into other elements. In this Very Short Introduction, Rob Ellam explains how isotopes have proved enormously important across all the sciences and in archaeology. Radioactive isotopes may be familiar from their use in nuclear weapons, nuclear power, and in medicine, as well as in carbon dating. They have been central to establishing the age of the Earth and the origins of the solar system. Combining previous and new research, Ellam provides an overview of the nature of stable and radioactive isotopes, and considers their wide range of modern applications. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Astrobiology A Very Short Introduction

Examines the origins of life on Earth and the search for extraterrestrial life, through an understanding of the factors that have allowed life to exist on this planet and the commonalities on others that may enable life elsewhere.

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Author: David C. Catling

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199586455

Category: Science

Page: 142

View: 376

Examines the origins of life on Earth and the search for extraterrestrial life, through an understanding of the factors that have allowed life to exist on this planet and the commonalities on others that may enable life elsewhere.

The History of Life A Very Short Introduction

This Very Short Introduction presents a succinct and accessible guide to the key episodes in the story of life on earth - from the very origins of life four million years ago to the extraordinary diversity of species around the globe today.

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Author: Michael J. Benton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199226320

Category: Science

Page: 170

View: 845

This Very Short Introduction presents a succinct and accessible guide to the key episodes in the story of life on earth - from the very origins of life four million years ago to the extraordinary diversity of species around the globe today.

The Ice Age

This book examines the wonders of the Quaternary ice age - to show how ice age landscapes and ecosystems were repeatedly and rapidly transformed as plants, animals, and humans reorganized their worlds." --Publisher.

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Author: Jamie Woodward

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199580699

Category: History

Page: 163

View: 157

"In an era of warming climate, the study of the ice age past is now more important than ever. This book examines the wonders of the Quaternary ice age - to show how ice age landscapes and ecosystems were repeatedly and rapidly transformed as plants, animals, and humans reorganized their worlds." --Publisher.

Human Evolution A Very Short Introduction

This introduction traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the 18th century to the latest fossil finds.

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Author: Bernard Wood

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780192803603

Category: Science

Page: 131

View: 352

This introduction traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the 18th century to the latest fossil finds. It concentrates on the fossil evidence for human evolution, making reference to the relevant archaeological evidence when appropriate.

Radioactivity A Very Short Introduction

But it remains misunderstood and feared. In this Very Short Introduction, Claudio Tuniz explains the nature and mechanisms of radioactivity.

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Author: Claudio Tuniz

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199692422

Category: Science

Page: 154

View: 681

Radioactivity - the breakdown of unstable atomic nuclei, releasing radiation - is a fundamental process in nature, and used to provide important applications in science, medicine, and energy production. But it remains misunderstood and feared. In this Very Short Introduction, Claudio Tuniz explains the nature and mechanisms of radioactivity.

Rocks A Very Short Introduction

Jan Zalasiewicz. - Jan Zalasiewicz |ROCKS A Very Short Introduction Rocks: A Very Short Introduction VERY SHORT INTRODUCTIONS are for. Front Cover.

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Author: Jan Zalasiewicz

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780191038310

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 328

Rocks, more than anything else, underpin our lives. They make up the solid structure of the Earth and of other rocky planets, and are present at the cores of gas giant planets. We live on the rocky surface of the planet, grow our food on weathered debris derived from rocks, and we obtain nearly all of the raw materials with which we found our civilization from rocks. From the Earth's crust to building bricks, rocks contain our sense of planetary history, and are a guide to our future. In this Very Short Introduction Jan Zalsiewicz looks at the nature and variety of rocks, and the processes by which they are formed. Starting from the origin of rocks and their key role in the formation of the Earth, he considers what we know about the deep rocks of the mantle and core, and what rocks can tell us about the evolution of the Earth, and looks at those found in outer space and on other planets. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Geophysics

1. What is geophysics? -- 2.

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Author: William Lowrie

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198792956

Category: Mathematics

Page: 160

View: 322

Geophysics is the physics of the Earth. Central to the Earth Sciences today, it encompasses areas such as seismology, volcanism, plate tectonics, gravitational anomalies, and the Earth's magnetic field (present and past, as captured in rocks), all of which give clues to both the structure and the working of the Earth. In this Very Short Introduction, William Lowrie describes the internal and external processes that affect the planet, as well as the principles and methods of geophysics used to investigate them. He explains how analysis of the seismic waves produced in earthquakes reveals the internal structure of the Earth. Geophysicists have established that the greatest source of energy powering geological processes is the Earth's internal heat. Deep inside the Earth, the temperature is high enough to produce a fluid outer core of molten iron. It is the motion in this molten iron layer that produces the Earth's magnetic field, which shields the planet against harmful radiation from the Sun and outer space, and thus makes the planet habitable. Lowrie describes how the magnetic field also magnetizes rocks during their formation, leaving a permanent record of the ancient field and its direction that geophysicists have learned to use to interpret past motions of the continents and tectonic plates. From analyzes of Earth's deepest interior to measurements made from Earth-orbiting satellites, Lowrie shows how geophysical exploration is vitally important in the search for mineral resources, and emphasizes our need to understand the history of our planet and the processes that govern its continuing evolution. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Earth System Science

This introductory text considers how a world in which humans could evolve was created; how, as a species, we are now reshaping that world; and what a sustainable future for humanity within the Earth system might look like.

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Author: Timothy Lenton

Publisher:

ISBN: 0191788333

Category: Earth sciences

Page:

View: 504

The concept of the Earth's atmosphere, biosphere, oceans, soil, and rocks operating as a closely interacting system has rapidly gained ground in science. This new field, involving geographers, geologists, biologists, oceanographers, and atmospheric physicists, is known as Earth system science. This introductory text considers how a world in which humans could evolve was created; how, as a species, we are now reshaping that world; and what a sustainable future for humanity within the Earth system might look like. Drawing on elements of geology, biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, it also asks whether Earth system science can help guide us onto a sustainable course before we alter the Earth system to the point where we destroy ourselves and our current civilisation.

Fossils A Very Short Introduction

Keith Thomson presents an explanation of fossils as a phenomenon, highlighting their impact on mythology, philosophy and popular culture.

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Author: Keith Thomson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780192805041

Category: Nature

Page: 147

View: 138

Fossils have been vital to our understanding of the formation of the earth and the origins of all life on it. However, their impact has not been limited to debates about geology and evolution: attempts to explain their existence have shaken religion to its very roots. Keith Thomson provides a remarkably explanation of fossils as a phenomenon. Building on the scientific aspects, he places fossils in a very human context, highlighting their impact on philosophy and mythology, our concept of time, and popular culture. From the black market to the Piltdown Man, and from mythological dragons to living dinosaurs, fossils hold a permanent place in the popular imagination.

Mountains A Very Short Introduction

While physical weathering just breaks rocks into smaller pieces, chemical weathering changes the original minerals into different ones, rounding the edges of rocks. Such chemical processes depend on temperature and moisture, ...

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Author: Martin Price

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191003387

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 661

Mountains cover a quarter of the Earth's land surface and are home to about 12 percent of the global population. They are the sources of all the world's major rivers, affect regional weather patterns, provide centres of biological and cultural diversity, hold deposits of minerals, and provide both active and contemplative recreation. Yet mountains are also significantly affected by climate change; as melting and retreating glaciers show. Given the manifold goods and services which mountains provide to the world, such changes are of global importance. In this Very Short Introduction, Martin Price outlines why mountains matter at the global level, and addresses the existing and likely impacts of climate change on mountain, hydrological and ecological systems. Considering the risks associated with the increasing frequency of extreme events and 'natural hazards' caused by climate change, he discusses the implications for both mountain societies and wider populations, and concludes by emphasizing the need for greater cooperation in order to adapt to climate change in our increasingly globalized world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

German Literature A Very Short Introduction

This Very Short Introduction illuminates the particular character and power of German literature, and examines its impact on the wider cultural world.

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Author: Nicholas Boyle

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199206599

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 171

View: 604

German writers, be it Goethe, Nietzsche, Marx, Brecht or Mann, have had a profound influence on the modern world. This Very Short Introduction illuminates the particular character and power of German literature, and examines its impact on the wider cultural world.

Deserts A Very Short Introduction

The presence of moisture, even in small amounts, enhances the efficiency of temperature extremes in fragmenting rocks. Similar effects also occur thanks to salt crystals that grow and prize rocks apart. In deserts where the temperature ...

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Author: Nick Middleton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199564309

Category: Nature

Page: 135

View: 502

In this Very Short Introduction Nick Middleton tells the story of the desert, demonstrating its beautiful landscapes and remarkable climates. He challenges the common notion that they are dry and barren and uncovers fascinating life-forms, a rich biodiversity, and a long history of human habitation.