Though it encompasses the majority of the Earth's history, much about Precambrian time still remains unknown to us. With its climate extremes and unstable surfaces, Precambrian Earth hardly resembled the planet we see today. Yet for all its differences, it made the existence of future generations possible. This volume helps unlock the mysteries of prehistory by considering available geologic evidence while providing a deep dive into the finesses of geochronology.
Geochronology, Dating, and Precambrian Time covers three main subjects. "Geologic Time" covers the history of geologic thought as scientists learned to classify and date rocks, and early methods of dating. Focusing particularly on nonradiometric dating, it also includes related concepts in geochronology. "Dating" goes into greater scientific detail, describing isotopic dating, in general and for specific elements. It also covers other methods of dating. "Precambrian Time" focuses on the evolution of the Earth from its origin 4.6 billion years ago until the start of Cambrian time 542 million years ago. It covers geography, climate, eons, fauna, and particularly rocks, going into great detail about major Precambrian formations around the world. The Cenozoic Era covers Earth's history from 65.5 million years ago until the present day, focusing both on rocks and fauna. Chapters cover different periods of the Cenozoic, including the Tertiary (an outdated term), the Paleogene and Neogene, the Quaternary, and the Pleistocene and Holocene. Chapters include sections on stages of each period, climate, rocks, and significant fauna. Other titles in the series are The Paleozoic Era: Diversification of Plant and Animal Life, and The Mesozoic Era: Age of Dinosaurs. Although aimed at high school students, most teens will find the dense writing, complex concepts, and extensive scientific details in these books extremely challenging. Seeming like a cross between reference books and scientific college textbooks, the titles feel cobbled together from encyclopedia articles rather than written as cohesive works. The writers frequently repeat information from topic to topic, fill the pages with formal scientific terms, and sometimes include detailed chemical or mathematical information. The printing on the black and white charts and graphs is often too tiny to read, and the low-quality black-and-white pictures make it difficult to identify details. These books would benefit greatly from many more illustrations and graphs, particularly in color. Although the information is reliable and accurate, it is difficult to imagine a high school assignment that would call for this level of detail, so purchase only if warranted for science curricula. (The Geologic History of Earth) Reviewer: Rebecca Moore