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Earth History and Palaeogeography

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  • Date Published: January 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107105324

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Summarises and expands on the authors' joint work over the past 17 years
    • Looks at the subject in a new integrated way, allowing readers to understand Earth history in a new light
    • Shows how faunas and floras have evolved, giving biologists a better time dimension
    • Non-technical language makes this ideal for all Earth, life and environmental scientists
    Read more


    • Winner, 2018 PROSE Award for Earth Science

    Reviews & endorsements

    "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, 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, The Quarterly Review of Biology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107105324
    • length: 332 pages
    • dimensions: 283 x 225 x 20 mm
    • weight: 1.19kg
    • contains: 32 colour illus. 136 maps
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Methods for locating old continents and terranes
    3. Tectonic units of the Earth
    4. Earth's origins and the Precambrian
    5. Cambrian
    6. Ordovician
    7. Silurian
    8. Devonian
    9. Carboniferous
    10. Permian
    11. Triassic
    12. Jurassic
    13. Cretaceous
    14. Paleogene
    15. Neogene and Quaternary
    16. Climates past and present
    Appendix 1. Location of Phanerozoic Large Igneous Provinces
    Appendix 2. Mesozoic to modern Panthalassic and Pacific Ocean plates
    Appendix 3. Orogenies

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    Earth History and Palaeogeography

    Trond H. Torsvik, L. Robin M. Cocks

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  • Authors

    Trond H. Torsvik, Universitetet i Oslo
    Trond H. Torsvik is the Founding Director of the Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED), University of Oslo and Honorary Professor at Wits University, Johannesburg. He is a Member of the Norwegian Academy, and was awarded the prestigious Arthur Holmes Medal from the European Union of Geosciences in 2016 and the Leopold Von Buch Medal from the German Geological Society in 2015 for outstanding achievements in the geosciences, among various other awards and prizes. He has written over 200 publications in refereed journals and books.

    L. Robin M. Cocks, Natural History Museum, London
    L. Robin M. Cocks OBE TD is a Scientific Associate in the Department of Earth Sciences at the Natural History Museum, London, where he was formerly Keeper of Palaeontology. He has been President of the Geological Society of London, the Palaeontological Association, the Geologists' Association and the Palaeontographical Society. In 1995 he was awarded the Geological Society's Coke Medal, and in 2010 the Lapworth Medal by the Paleaontological Association, its highest honour.


    • Winner, 2018 PROSE Award for Earth Science

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