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30 December 2021

Footprints: In search of future fossils, by David Farrier

Callan reviews Scottish author David Farrier’s nonfiction exploration of humanity’s signatures on the geologic record.


27 March 2019

Timefulness, by Marcia Bjornerud

[Note: this book review was scheduled to run in the July 2019 issue of EARTH magazine, but with the announcement two weeks ago that EARTH was being shuttered, I was notified that nothing contributors or freelancers had written scheduled for after April 2019 would be published, and the rights were returned to me. While that’s disappointing, it frees me up to publish it here instead. Enjoy!] _____________________________________________ Geology is a …


13 September 2018

A New History of Life, by Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink

Yesterday, I finished listening to the audiobook version of A New History of Life, by Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink (2016). This book is only a couple of years old, and takes as its topic ‘the modern perspective’ on life’s long history on Earth, using the latest insights available. It aims to debunk old hypotheses that don’t stand up to new data, and to expand the purview of life’s reign …


13 May 2018

A Most Improbable Journey, by Walter Alvarez

As mentioned the week before last, Walter Alvarez has a new book out. I’ve read it. It’s good. It’s Alvarez’s take on what he calls “Big History” – the story that spans the cosmos, the Earth, life, and humanity. It’s pretty great for the reasons that Alvarez’s other books are excellent – his voice is calm, appreciative, and patient. His language is accessible and appropriate (though I will grouse that …


21 February 2017

Q&A, episode 3

A reader asks about the use of zircons in isotopic dating, and the argument for submerged continental crust beneath Mauritius.


30 June 2016

Virtual field trip to Siccar Point, Scotland

Time for another virtual field trip on the Geologist’s Grand Tour of the United Kingdom: the most famous outcrop in the world. Today, we visit Siccar Point, Scotland. You’ve probably already seen photos of this place – they usually look something like this: To those who aren’t familiar, here’s what going on: There are two sets of strata here – and the contact between them is an ancient erosional surface. …


23 May 2011

Geology Word of the Week: Z is for Zanclean

Geologic Timescale Spiral. Image courtesy of USGS. Taken from Wikipedia here. Click to enlarge. def. Zanclean: A geologic Age spanning from ~5.33 million years ago to ~3.60 million years ago in the Pliocene Epoch. Q: What do the words Zanclean, Burdigalian, and Maastrichtian have in common? A: They’re all Ages of geologic time! So are the Tithonian, Albian, Sinemurian, Norian, and dozens of others. Never heard of the Zanclean? Don’t …