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The Key to Earth History. An Introduction to Stratigraphy. 2nd Edition

  • ID: 2251935
  • Book
  • April 2001
  • 304 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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The Key to Earth History introduces students to the basic tools used by geologists to reconstruct the Earth′s history, and shows how these tools can be used to chart the pattern of global environmental change since the formation of the Earth some 4600 million years ago. It tells a story of mountain building, climate change and of the evolution of life, and uses the North Atlantic region (Europe and North America) as a study area to illustrate this story.

Divided into two parts, the book shows how stratigraphy is the key to understanding the history of the Earth. The first part examines the basic stratigraphical methods used to establish, date and interpret the rock record as the product of a series of events whithin Earth history. The second part presents the results obtained by geologists, who have used these stratigraphical tools to reconstruct the pattern of global environmental change through geological time and focuses on the geological evolution of the North Atlantic region. The Key to Earth History is essential reading for geologists, geographers and environmental scientists, as well as to all those interested in the story of the planet.

′The authors provide no one with an alibi for bad stratigraphic teaching!′


′The aims of this introductory textbook are to explain the process and pattern of Earth history, to generate interest and enthusiasm, to make stratigraphy fun and exciting! These aims are admirably achieved.′

The Holocene

′This is a great little book! I found that, not only was everything covered, but that it was covered in a refreshing, readable, no–nonsense fashion.′

Earth Science Reviews

′The Key to Earth History really should be compulsory reading for all ... geology students.′

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Introduction: What is Stratigraphy?


Uniformitarianism or Actualism.

Establishing the Sequence of Events.

Geological Time.

Interpreting the Stratigraphical Record.

The Evolution and Closure of Sedimentary Basins: The Role of Plate Tectonics.

The Stratigraphical Tool Kit: Case Studies.

Summary of Part One: The Stratigraphical Tool Kit.


Introduction to Part Two.

The Stratigraphical Record and Global Rhythm.

The North Atlantic Region: A Journey Through Time.

The Precambrian: Peering into Deep Time.

Pangaea: Birth of a Giant.

Pangaea and the Opening of the Atlantic.

Summary of Part Two: The Pattern of Earth History.

Lexicon of Stratigraphical Terms.

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Peter Doyle
Matthew R. Bennett
Alistair N. Baxter
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