Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press
Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World

Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World

by Jonathan I. Lunine, Cynthia J. Lunine


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This is an outstanding overview of the history of the Earth from a unique planetary perspective for introductory courses in the earth sciences. The book approaches Earth history as an evolution, encompassing the origin of the cosmos through the inner working of living cells. Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World tells how the Earth has come to its present state, why it differs from its neighboring planets, what life's place is in Earth's history, how humanity affects the processes that make our planet livable, and contemplates human influences in the context of natural changes on Earth. This book brings a fresh perspective to the study of the Earth for students who wish to learn how our planet evolved to its present form.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521472876
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 10/28/1998
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 8.46(w) x 10.98(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jonathan I. Lunine is the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences at Cornell University. His research interests center broadly on planetary origin and evolution, in our solar system and around other stars. He works as an interdisciplinary scientist on the Cassini mission to Saturn and on the James Webb Space Telescope, and is also a co-investigator on the Juno mission which launched for Jupiter in August 2011. Dr Lunine is the author of over 230 scientific papers and besides the first edition of this book (Cambridge University Press, 1999), he has also written Astrobiology: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Pearson Addison-Wesley, 2005). He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union.

Table of Contents

Dedication; Preface; Part I. The Astronomical Planet: Earth's Place In The Cosmos: 1. Structure of the Universe and a brief tour of the solar system; 2. The largest and smallest scales; 3. Forces and energy; 4. Fusion, fission, sunlight and element formation; Part II. The Measurable Planet: 5. Determination of cosmic and terrestrial ages; 6. Some other uses of isotopes for Earth history; 7. Relative age dating of cosmic and terrestrial events: the cratering record; 8. Relative age dating of terrestrial events: geologic layering and geologic time; 9. Plate tectonics: an introduction to the process; Part III. The Historical Planet: Earth and Solar System Through Time: 10. Formation of the solar system; 11. The hadean Earth; 12. The Archean eon and the origin of life: I; 13. The Archean eon and the origin of life: II; 14. The first greenhouse crisis: the faint early Sun; 15. The climate histories of Mars and Venus, and the habitability of planets; 16. Earth in transition: from the Archean to the Proterozoic; 17. The oxygen revolution; 18. The Phanerozoic: flowering and extinction of complex life; 19. Climate change across the Phanerozoic; 20. Toward the age of humankind; Part IV. The Once and Future Planet: 21. Climate change over the past 100,000 years; 22. Human-induced global warming; 23. Limited resources: the human dilemma; 24. Coda: the once and future Earth.

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