The Tenth Muse: The Pursuit of Earth Science

Ronald B. Parker, Author Scribner Book Company $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-18608-5
Visiting caves just to see stalactites and stalagmites is like visiting the subway to see graffiti, writes Parker, author of Inscrutable Earth; our interest should be the formation of caves, not their decoration. In 14 engaging essays, he introduces various fields of earth science and calls our attention to the work of early geologists. Parker notes that the language of geology reflects geographyNorwegian for islands and submerged rocks, French for mountaineering, Russian for flatlands, Icelandic for landforms. He examines extinctions, both the dinosaurs and mammals (at the end of the last Ice Age); on the latter, he gives equal space to humans and climate. Parker waxes eloquent on the subject of coprolites (fossil dung); he brings us up to date on studies of past climates and other environmental factors through tree rings, clams and coral. Additional topics discussed are the mystery of boron deposits, salt domes, volcanoes, natural disasters and mapping. Clearly written and easily understood by lay readers, this book will appeal to those with an interest in science. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1986
Release date: 07/01/1986
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