Description Evolution of the Earth reveals the logical framework of geology, shows relations of the science to the totality of human knowledge, and gives some idea of what it is to be a participant in the discipline. In keeping with the preference for a "How do we know'" rather than "What do we know'" approach, the authors stress what assumptions are made by earth historians, what kinds of evidence (and tools for gathering that evidence), and what processes of reasoning and limitations of hypotheses are involved in reconstructing and interpreting the past.
Each chapter begins with a list of highlights entitled "Major Concepts". Many chapters have a summary timeline that puts the entire sequence of events into a quick visual reference frame. The use of dioramas and reconstructions of extinct animals and plants has been greatly expanded, so that students can get a more vivid concept of typical life in any part of the geologic past. In many places, the authors have supplied a full page of color photos of classic fossils from each period to improve the visual recognition of the organisms that give life its distinctive history. The areas of hottest controversy, such as mass extinctions, dinosaur endothermy, the origin of life, and controversies over late Proterozoic tectonics and glaciation, have been given separate sections so that students can appreciate the different sides of the debates.
Prothero/Dott: Evolution of the Earth focuses more on the concepts and processes of historical geology than on a recitation of facts and data.
Time scale and summary diagrams at the end of the time-period chapters summarize the biotic and geologic events of the era.
Relevent web URL's appear at the end of each chapter.
Excellent balance of geologic and biotic events and subjects.
Evolution of the Earth emphasizes the human history of the study of historical geology in the first four chapters and briefly throughout the rest of the book.
One key, unifying theme of this text is the overall chemical evolution of the earth.
Significant updating of chapter content based on reviewer suggestions and feedback from adopters. Updates include information on Dawn and Earth History, Ocean Ridges and Sea-Floor Spreading, The Great Lakes, and Cenozoic Climate.
New material added on Tsunamis, Santotini, The Origin and Fate of the Moon, Mountain Building and the Standard Chronology for Precambrian Time.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Time and Terrestrial Change
Chapter 2: Floods, Fossils, and Heresies
Chapter 3: Evolution
Chapter 4: The Relative Geologic Time Scale and Modern Concepts of Stratigraphy
Chapter 5: The Numerical Dating of the Earth
Chapter 6: The Origin and Early Evolution of the Earth
Chapter 7: Mountain Building and Drifting Continents
Chapter 8: Precambrian History An Introduction to the Origin of Continental Crust
Chapter 9: Early Life and Its Patterns
Chapter 10: Earliest Paleozoic History: The Sauk Sequence'An Introduction to Cratons and Epeiric Seas
Chapter 11: The Later Ordovician: Further Studies of Plate Tectonics and the Paleogeography of Orogenic Belts
Chapter 12: The Middle Paleozoic: Time of Reefs, Salt, and Forests
Chapter 13: Late Paleozoic History: A Tectonic Climax and Retreat of the Sea
Chapter 14: The Mesozoic Era: Age of Reptiles and Continental Breakup
Chapter 15: Cenozoic History: Threshold of the Present
Chapter 16: Pleistocene Glaciation and the Advent of Humanity
Chapter 17: The Best of All Possible Worlds'