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For generations - the ground beneath the feet of our ancestors seemed solid and unchanging. Around 30 years ago - two things happened that were to revolutionize the understanding of our home planet. First - geologists realized that the continents themselves were drifting across the surface of the globe and that oceans were being created and destroyed. Secondly - pictures of the entire planet were returned from space. As the astronomer Fred Hoyle had predicted - this let loose an idea as powerful as any in history. Suddenly - the Earth began to be viewed as a single entity; a dynamic - interacting whole - controlled by complex processes we scarcely understood. It began to seem less solid. As one astronaut put it - a blue jewel on black velvet; small - fragile and touchingly alone. Geologists at last were able to see the whole as well as the detail; the wood as well as the trees. This book brings their account up to date with the latest understanding of the processes that govern our planet. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts - analysis - perspective - new ideas - and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.... Please click here to ask a question
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