Ferocious debates have always characterized the interpretation of Earth history. After a generally quieter period during the first half of the twentieth century, controversies re-ignited in many branches of the Earth and life sciences in the 1960s. Plate and plume tectonics, cosmic catastrophism, giant tsunamis, the origin of ice ages, punctuated equilibrium, the Gaia hypothesis, and many more have all led to intense arguments.
The Natural History of the Earth probes selected discussions within biology, climatology, geology, and geomorphology and explores a selection of debates about Earth and life history, considering their origins and their present state-of-play. After outlining the arguments, placing them in an historical context and indicating their significance, the book goes on to deal with specific debates.
In the geosphere section, topics covered include geological processes, the bombardment hypothesis, frigid climates and cataclysmic floods, and in the section concerning thebiosphere, the topics include evolutionary patterns, mass extinctions, patterns in life?s history, and life?environment connections. Using a broad selection of classic and current sources, The Natural History of the Earth brings together debates from a wide range of Earth and life sciences. Written in a clear and accessible style, it will interest Earth and life scientists, physical geographers, and any informed person fascinated by long-term Earth history. This accessible volume is illustrated throughout with over fifty informative diagrams, photographs, tables and over seven hundred references.