Saturday, July 16, 2011

Book review: Vanished Ocean by Dorrik Stow:

Vanished Ocean: How Tethys Reshaped the World. Oxford University Press, 2011
Dorrik Stow

Stow, a British geologist and oceanographer, takes the reader along on a personal adventures seasoned with a great deal of well-explained science as he goes around the world looking for traces of the glove-girdling Tethys Ocean. Along the way, he explains everything from the origin of gypsum to the reasons the dinosaurs went extinct. Actually, that's one of his most interesting topics. He strongly rejects the popular KT impact theory and is not sure there was any impact: iridium layers and shocked quartz, he tells us, can result from volcanic or tectonic activity, and he thinks the Deccan supervolcano set in motion the rapid climate change and other activities that wrecked the ecosystem in which dinosaurs flourished.
This book has some of the clearest explanations I have read about the whole process of paleogeology and how we study it. I cam away with a much better understanding of the topic, with its implications for everything from understanding evolution to predicting the effects of climate change. Nice work!

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