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Earth History and Palaeogeography
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Book description

Using full-colour palaeogeographical maps from the Cambrian to the present, this interdisciplinary volume explains how plate motions and surface volcanism are linked to processes in the Earth's mantle, and to climate change and the evolution of the Earth's biota. These new and very detailed maps provide a complete and integrated Phanerozoic story of palaeogeography. They illustrate the development of all the major mountain-building orogenies. Old lands, seas, ice caps, volcanic regions, reefs, and coal beds are highlighted on the maps, as well as faunal and floral provinces. Many other original diagrams show sections from the Earth's core, through the mantle, and up to the lithosphere, and how Large Igneous Provinces are generated, helping to understand how plates have appeared, moved, and vanished through time. Supplementary resources are available online, making this an invaluable reference for researchers, graduate students, professional geoscientists and anyone interested in the geological history of the Earth.

Reviews

‘A state-of-the-art summary of the distribution and history of the continents through geological time, splendidly illustrated. It is a major achievement of geological synthesis and deserves a place in the library of every Earth scientist and palaeontologist.’

Richard Fortey, FRS FRSL

‘Torsvik and Cocks take on the Herculean pursuit of weaving together the palaeogeographic history of planet Earth in a single treatise. The authors take us step by step through the process of assembling palaeogeographic maps using palaeomagnetic, palaeontological, climatological and geological information. Following detailed introductory chapters on methods, descriptions of tectonic units and a review of the Precambrian, the book progresses through the Phanerozoic Eon with a period-by-period discussion of regional and global palaeogeography. In each chapter, the reader is presented with highly detailed palaeogeographic maps (in color) and a comprehensive evaluation of data used in those reconstructions. Torsvik and Cocks’ combined decades of geodynamic and palaeontological expertise make this book indispensable to the geological community.’

Joseph Meert - University of Florida

‘Since the advent of plate tectonics, some fifty years ago, geophysicists and palaeontologists have not always agreed on the ancient palaeogeography of the Earth and the position of its continents. This comprehensive and integrated narrative of the moving continents through deep time is the result of a paradigm-shifting collaboration between leaders in both fields and has moved the goal posts. This substantial book, beautifully illustrated and lucidly written, covers not only Earth geography through time but also the basic concepts, some new and innovative, and its relevance to other aspects of the evolution of our planet such as biodiversity and climate through the Phanerozoic. This monumental and superbly produced publication is essential reading for all students of Earth history and will be a lasting source of reference in the field, and beyond.’

David Harper - Durham University

‘Torsvik and Cocks have jointly produced a spectacular textual narrative, laced with marvellous illustrations of the panthalassa framework surrounding the panoply of pangea forms in an effective panorama for the entire Phanerozoic (from the greek: pan = παv = all or entire; thalassa = θαλασσα = sea or ocean; oply = οπλα = complete collection; geo = γαια = earth or land; orama = οραµα = sights).’

Rob Van der Voo - University of Michigan

'This reference book provides a beautifully illustrated history of our planet, Earth, over the past half billion years. Much of the tome provides detailed worldwide palaeogeographic maps and tectonic history, in chronological order from the Cambrian period, but it also contains a wealth of background and reference material. … The authors have generated software to make flat maps from a spherical Earth. They have made available supplementary online material, which permits anyone to make their own reconstructions at any time period since 540 million years ago. … [I]t is a wonderful reference companion to put any geological read into context.'

Maggie Deytrikh Source: Proceedings of the Open University Geological Society

'This incredibly ambitious publication covers more than a half billion years of tectonic movements and paleobiogeographic patterns … the events and patterns discussed do not occur in temporal or spatial isolation. Torsvik and Cocks did an admirable job of acknowledging these boundaries while writing the text in a format that is not confined by those limits. The authors have taken great care to provide extensive maps, including numbering and listing tectonic units in helpful ways … [The book] will provide the broad perspective that is foundational for other types of questions in biogeography. In addition to the unique strength of this volume in synthesizing immense amounts of data, the authors have much more information freely available online. The programs and data at their website open new innovative ways for teaching, the ability to explore research ideas, and a fun way to look at more maps.'

Dennis R. Ruez, Jr Source: The Quarterly Review of Biology

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Contents

  • 1 - Introduction
    pp 1-2

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