This outstanding book is a compelling introduction to earth science and will encourage readers to ask questions, think critically, and embrace their curiosity about the natural world.
Come closer and look at these rocks: they’re not normal stones at all! They’re thousands and thousands of mollusks, fossilized together in the sediment. But how did a million oysters ever land on top of a mountain?
Written by a geologist, this inquisitive journey guides readers through the movements of seas, strata, and tectonic plates. The landscapes of the present can be clues to events in the past. Lush, atmospheric illustrations offer fascinating details to discover, and sidebars and an extensive glossary provide intriguing connections to marine biology and scientific history.
And now? Can you see where this is going?
Well, yes. There’s a forest. It’s lovely.
It’s fall. Crops are almost ready to be harvested. And there’s a tractor in the field. Yes. The stream is marvelous. Come on, though, let’s keep going, keep going. We’ve only got a few pages to explain something amazing.
The fossils help us to know what moment of the song we’re in. We’ll never find a human with a dinosaur in the same stratum, or a trilobite with mammoths. The layers of fossils construct a kind of clock.
Huh. So we know that our oysters are younger than trilobites, but older than mammoths. That doesn’t narrow things down much.
Time is measured in seconds, in years, in centuries. It has numbers. No one says, “Let’s meet before the last leaf of the oak tree falls, but after the thyme has flowered.”
So now we know that 85 million years ago, the top of our mountain was a tropical sea.
The oysters didn’t climb the mountain, nor did they fall with the rain, nor did they just suddenly appear.
The mountain rock was once on the bottom of the ocean floor!