The Planet in a Pebble by Jan Zalasiewicz
A journey into Earth's deep history

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Moving through deep time, he takes the reader into the microscopic realm of minerals and microfossils before venturing into a far future in which the pebble's atoms are reabsorbed into a new star system.
-Guardian

Synopsis

This is the story of a single pebble. It is just a normal pebble, as you might pick up on holiday - on a beach in Wales, say. Its history, though, carries us into abyssal depths of time, and across the farthest reaches of space.

This is a narrative of the Earth's long and dramatic history, as gleaned from a single pebble. It begins as the pebble-particles form amid unimaginable violence in distal realms of the Universe, in the Big Bang and in supernova explosions and continues amid the construction of the Solar System. Jan Zalasiewicz shows the almost incredible complexity present in such a small and apparently mundane object. Many events in the Earth's ancient past can be deciphered from a pebble: volcanic eruptions;
the lives and deaths of extinct animals and plants; the alien nature of long-vanished oceans; and transformations deep underground, including the creations of fool's gold and of oil.

Zalasiewicz demonstrates how geologists reach deep into the Earth's past by forensic analysis of even the tiniest amounts of mineral matter. Many stories are crammed into each and every pebble around us. It may be small, and ordinary, this pebble - but it is also an eloquent part of our Earth's extraordinary, never-ending story.
 

About Jan Zalasiewicz

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Jan Zalasiewicz is a Lecturer in Geology at the University of Leicester, before that working at the British Geological Survey.
 
Published September 23, 2010 by OUP Oxford. 251 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Sports & Outdoors, Science & Math, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Guardian

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Reviewed by PD Smith on Jun 12 2012

Moving through deep time, he takes the reader into the microscopic realm of minerals and microfossils before venturing into a far future in which the pebble's atoms are reabsorbed into a new star system.

Read Full Review of The Planet in a Pebble: A jou... | See more reviews from Guardian

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