Earth's Chemical Clues: The Story of Geochemistry

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7-12-- Two adequate treatments of subjects not often covered in YA literature. Barnes-Svarney gives a very brief account, complete with examples, of how fossil dating works, followed by details of the kinds of life extant during each epoch of Earth's history. Rapp and Erickson describe and illustrate the usefulness of understanding the chemical composition of the Earth. Although both are written in a fairly lively style, their subjects are of such limited interest that they will be used mostly for reports. Most books on fossils concentrate on the plants or animals that created them, rather than the geological periods in which they are created. A few, like Robert Silverberg's Clocks for the Ages (Macmillan, 1971; o.p.), cover geological dating in some depth. Barnes-Svarney provides a brief, somewhat oversimplified treatment of how fossils are formed, the divisions of geological time, and the methods people use to assign particular fossils to particular time periods. She names the main divisions of time but doesn't tell how they differ. Relative and absolute age dating are described through examples, but their definitions remain unclear. However, aside from a couple of minor errors (``saurischians'' means ``lizard-hipped,'' not ``terrible lizards''), her descriptions of changing life conditions are evocative and far more concise than Silverberg's. Rapp and Erickson immediately provide the background in atomic theory necessary to understand the rest of the book. At times, the text doesn't fully explain an idea, but usually a diagram provides fuller understanding. The explanation of radiocarbon dating is better than the one found in the Barnes-Svarney book. The authors describe how living things change the Earth, an aspect of geology that's seldom provided for this age group. Both books are illustrated with clearly reproduced black-and-white photographs and diagrams. --Jonathan Betz-Zall, Sno-Isle Regional Library System, Marysville, WA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780894901539
  • Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/1990
  • Series: Earth Processes Ser.
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 11 years

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