Supercontinent: Ten Billion Years in the Life of Our Planet

To understand continental drift and plate tectonics, the shifting and collisions that make and unmake continents, requires a long view The Earth, after all, is 4.6 billion years old This book extends our vision to take in the greatest geological cycle of all one so vast that our species will probably be extinct long before the current one ends in about 250 million yearsTo understand continental drift and plate tectonics, the shifting and collisions that make and unmake continents, requires a long view The Earth, after all, is 4.6 billion years old This book extends our vision to take in the greatest geological cycle of all one so vast that our species will probably be extinct long before the current one ends in about 250 million years And yet this cycle, the grandest pattern in Nature, may well be the fundamental reason our species or any complex life at all exists.This book explores the Supercontinent Cycle from scientists earliest inkling of the phenomenon to the geological discoveries of today and from the most recent fusing of all of Earth s landmasses, Pangaea, on which dinosaurs evolved, to the next Chronicling a 500 million year cycle, Ted Nield introduces readers to some of the most exciting science of our time He describes how, long before plate tectonics were understood, geologists first guessed at these vanishing landmasses and came to appreciate the significance of the fusing and fragmenting of supercontinents.He also uses the story of the supercontinents to consider how scientific ideas develop, and how they sometimes escape the confines of science Nield takes the example of the recent Indian Ocean tsunami to explain how the whole endeavor of science is itself a supercontinent, whose usefulness in saving human lives, and life on Earth, depends crucially on a freedom to explore the unknown.
Supercontinent Ten Billion Years in the Life of Our Planet To understand continental drift and plate tectonics the shifting and collisions that make and unmake continents requires a long view The Earth after all is billion years old This book extends

  • Title: Supercontinent: Ten Billion Years in the Life of Our Planet
  • Author: Ted Nield
  • ISBN: 9780674026599
  • Page: 234
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Supercontinent: Ten Billion Years in the Life of Our Planet”

    1. First, I think the subtitle "Ten Billion Years in the life of our Planet" is a bit misleading. From the main title I assumed it was about plate tectonics, which it is, but I then assumed from the subtitle that the story would take us from the formation of the earth almost 5 billion years ago, and then project what would happen in the next 5 billion years. That latter part never really happens although there is a brief section about what the likely scenarios are for the next collison of continent [...]

    2. Though I love science, geology does not usually draw my interest. Who wants to read about rocks? Not me. On the other hand, who can resist a Lost Continent? This book manages to imbue the subject of geology with Lost Continent levels of glamor. Only in a few instances does the author delve too far into rock talk for my taste. Each chapter is a well-written, entertaining essay on a topic related to continental drift. The author tackles the history of the theory's development, the geological mecha [...]

    3. I feel like the subtitle of this book is a hair misleading; it's not precisely about the life of our planet, but more about how scientists developed the theory of continental drift and how they were able to gather the evidence to prove it. The author has a very readable style, and there is quite a bit oft levity, exactly, but a way of making the scientists he discusses seem like actual people: we often get mentions of these scientists' personal lives and their abilities beyond analyzing data. I [...]

    4. I'm giving this book 5 stars, though I was tempted to only give 4 for a couple reasons. First, as other reviewers have said, this book doesn't really cover 10 billion years in the life of our planet. Nield doesn't really talk much about Earth's origins and the (brief) period up to the formation of the oceans, and he doesn't really talk much about the future beyond about 250 million years when the next supercontinent is projected to form. At best this book covers 4.5 billion years in the life of [...]

    5. The best parts of this book are the vividly described scenes of potential past and future Earths and the fascinating and perhaps unrepeatable conditions they exhibit, from geology to climate. Unfortunately the greater part of the book is taken up with a description of the historical development of the idea of continental drift, and especially the key players in imagining and researching this idea. This is interesting in its own way, but it doesn't speak to me the same as an evocative description [...]

    6. What happens to usIs irrelevant to the world’s geologyBut what happens to the world’s geologyIs not irrelevant to us Hugh MacDiamidScience has been trying to humble the hubris of humans from the start, in a series of what Sigmund Freud refereed as ‘dethronements’. The first dethronement was of the Earth as the centre of the universe. Second was our dethronement as a unique creation in the image of God. Third (in Freud’s op;inion was his demystification of the human mind’s deepest mot [...]

    7. After doing a fairly interesting and enjoyable substitute lesson on the age of the Earth, I was left wondering why we bother to teach things like plate tectonics to middle school kids; what's the usefulness of it?This book peripherally addresses that issue in the introduction and conclusion with the specific example of tsunami preparedness and the more general argument that unguided science often comes to useful application in time.The geologic history of the Earth in it's many supercontinent co [...]

    8. If this were merely a book about the history of the always evolving Supercontinent theory, it would have been a competent history but little more. What Hield has done is cleverly used the history of Supercontinent theory as a framework within which to dive in to other fascinating Earth History/Geology discoveries and theories throughout the years. The Supercontinent idea is interesting on its face, but probably doesn't require ~250 pages to explain to an intelligent reader interested in Earth Sc [...]

    9. This non-fiction book addresses how our planet has evolved over the history of its lifetime. The author explains the geological cycle and in light of this vastness of earth’s history, it is difficult to feel significant as humans are most likely going to be extinct by the time the current one ends. I believe he does an excellent job educating his readers about supercontinents and plate tectonics. Alongside this, he explains everything needed to understand the ideas being shown. However, someti [...]

    10. This isn't a topic that I can say truly, honestly interests me. I'm not big on geology. It just doesn't grab me. So because of this, I tuned out while reading some of this book, particularly when Nield was talking about various chemicals and chemical bonds. So for those of you looking for an analysis on the correctness of this book uh, I'm sorry. It was good, though, I'll give Nield that. For the most part I could understand what he was talking about. Would I read another one of Nield's works? M [...]

    11. An excellent summary of how and why the continents have shifted and continue shifting, and how theories about supaercontinents emerged. Especially in the early parts of the book, however, the author's slightly flippant tone and penchant for telling stories about the lives of the scientists involved can be rather irritating, and I must admit to flicking through some of these sections. Verdict: far less learned than Richard Fortey's 'Earth: An intimate history', but also more accessible.

    12. Neild delivers an engrossing history of the Earth and just how the bits on which we float happened to get to where they are today. He also discusses what might happen next and how long it will take for all the bits to join up once again, and in what order. His explanation of Continental Drift and Tectonic Plate activity is amusing, educating but very readable. He even manages to get a dig in at the Creationists and their wacky dogma.

    13. Nield's book is directed towards the layperson interested in geology, the history and future of the planet. Not only does he cover his subject with easy expertise, he relates it to current happenings, i.e. the significance of the Boxing Day tsunami. As icing on the cake, the book is written with great humor. Douglas Adams' work makes a frequent appearance in the book. This is a great read for inquiring minds.

    14. Book is mainly about supercontinents, which arise when plate tectonics brings all of the continents together to form one landmass. The author starts with the relatively recent Pangea, the earlier Rodinia, and the first, Ur. The author also discusses how the location of Rodinia led to snowball earth (it appears that at one point the earth's surface froze, either all the way or leaving a band of unfrozen water around the equator) which begat complex life.

    15. Really fascinating - and a story which is a great monument to humans' ingenuity in piecing bits of information together to reveal an ever-more-detailed history of the Earth.A few more pictures would have been worthwhile, and the 10 billion of the title isn't really what it is about (5 billion would have been more accurate). But those are minor quibbles - a grand story, well told.

    16. I thought this book was very interesting, but at times scattered and ADD. The author would start to talk about a topic, then change to another with little to no warning. On top of that, he would weave random stories and suppositions into the mix. I would have rated this book much higher if it were organized better and a little less like what I imagine a geologic acid trip would be like.

    17. Fascinating read for science lover and lay person alike dealing with the science and history of plate tectonics from the dawn of the Earths beginning to it's possible future. Accessible and thoroughly enjoyable.

    18. I really enjoyed the mix of history of science and science. There are also flashes of a soaring, poetic and moving sense of perspective. I already know that I find geology fascinating, perhaps if you don't you won't enjoy this as much as I did.

    19. I have recently become fascinated with plate tectonics and this fits the bill nicely. Largely traveling back in time in reverse order the book explores the discoveries of our planets mobile past both scientifically, and often, how it was interpreted creatively.

    20. Thought-provoking, entertaining and informal book about the evolution of Earth and the scientists and discoveries that pieced/are piecing it all together. Recommended.

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