The Earth After Us: What Legacy Will Humans Leave in the Rocks?

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Overview


Geologist Jan Zalasiewicz takes the reader on a fascinating trip one hundred million years into the future--long after the human race becomes extinct--to explore what will remain of our brief but dramatic sojourn on Earth. He describes how geologists in the far future might piece together the history of the planet, and slowly decipher the history of humanity from the traces we will leave impressed in the rock strata. What story will the rocks tell of us? What kind of fossils will humans leave behind? What will happen to cities, cars, and plastic cups? The trail leads finally to the bones of the inhabitants of petrified cities that have slept deep underground for many millions of years. As thought-provoking as it is engaging, this book simultaneously explains the geological mechanisms that shape our planet, from fossilization to plate tectonics, illuminates the various ingenious ways in which geologists and paleontologist work, and offers a final perspective on humanity and its actions that may prove to be more objective than any other.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"What fragments of our cities, dams and factories may be detectable in, say, 100 million years' time? It is a simple but intriguing thought experiment that is explored in this neat little geological entertainment."--The Observer

"It is sobering to consider what sort of legacy we're bequeathing our planet and in this regard The Earth After Us is a thoroughly inspirational book. At all levels, it provides a fantastic introduction to the world about us taken from a highly original angle."--Nature

"The central premise of The Earth After Us is in discussing what traces might remain 100 million years in the future of our species and the civilisation we have built if we were to fall extinct. In answering this question, Jan Zalasiewicz provides an engaging and broad sweep of the science of geology, different signals preserved in the rocks, and the important inferences that can be drawn from them."--The Astrobiology Society of Britain

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199214983
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2009
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 677,944
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jan Zalasiewicz is a Lecturer in Geology at the University of Leicester, before that working at the British Geological Survey. A field geologist, palaeontologist and stratigrapher, he teaches various aspects of geology and Earth history to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and is a researcher into fossil ecosystems and environments across over half a billion years of geological time. He has published over a hundred papers in scientific journals.

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Table of Contents

Prologue
1. Perspective
2. 100 Million Years AD
3. The Strata Machine
4. Tectonic Escalator
5. High Water, Low Water
6. Dynasties
7. Echoes
8. Traces
9. Body of Evidence
10. Meeting the People
Further reading

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