Catastrophes and Lesser Calamities The Causes of Mass Extinctions

ISBN-10: 0192806688
ISBN-13: 9780192806680
Edition: 2005
Authors: Tony Hallam
List price: $30.00
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Description: In Catastrophes and Lesser Calamities, renowned geologist Tony Hallam takes us on a tour of the Earth's history, and of the cataclysmic events, as well as the more gradual extinctions, that have punctuated life on Earth throughout the past 500  More...

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Book details

List price: $30.00
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 9/1/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 5.08" wide x 7.72" long x 0.52" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

In Catastrophes and Lesser Calamities, renowned geologist Tony Hallam takes us on a tour of the Earth's history, and of the cataclysmic events, as well as the more gradual extinctions, that have punctuated life on Earth throughout the past 500 million years. While comparable books in this field of study tend to promote only one likely cause of mass extinctions, such as extraterrestrial impact, volcanism, and or climatic cooling, Catastrophes and Lesser Calamities breaks new ground, as the first book to attempt an objective coverage of all likely causes, including sea-level and climatic changes, oxygen deficiency in the oceans, volcanic activity, and extraterrestrial impact. Hallam focuses on the so-called 'big five' mass extinctions, at the end of the Ordovician, Permian, Triassic, and Cretaceous periods, and the later Devonian, and he also includes less well-known examples where relevant. He devotes attention especially to the attempts by geologists to distinguish true catastrophes from more gradual extinction events, and he concludes with a discussion of the evolutionary significance of mass extinctions, and on the influence of Homo sapiens in causing extinctions within the last few thousand years, both on land and in the seas.

Anthony Hallam is Lapworth Professor in the School of Earth Science at the University of Birmingham, England.

In Search of Possible Causes of Mass Extinctions
Historical Background
Evidence for Catastrophic Organic Changes in the Geological Record
Impact by Comets and Asteroids
Sea-level Changes
Oxygen Deficiency in the Oceans
Climate Change
Volcanic Activity
Pulling the Strands Together
The Evolutionary Significance of Mass Extinctions
The Influence of Humans
Notes and Suggestions for Further Reading
Bibliography
Glossary
Index

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