This book chronicles how successive generations of natural philosophers, geologists and geomorphologists have come to invent different views of the Earth over the past 250 years. Today we take for granted certain given truths about the Earth: our planet is unimaginably old; the surface of the planet is in perpetual motion through the action of plate tectonics; and the structures on the surface of the Earth are being continuously modified by agencies such as wind, rain, rivers and glaciers. However, even 100 years ago, some of this received wisdom was not available. Using as its central viewpoint changing ideas about the significance of the action of rain and rivers on the Earth's surface, Inventing the Earth shows how our contemporary "truths" have come to be accepted and, with no guarantee that our current view of the Earth is correct, exposes the frailty of even the most impeccably scientific visions of the Earth. Inventing the Earth is essential reading for undergraduates and postgraduates in physical geography, earth science and environmental studies.
?Interesting, informative, and easy to read.?
The Leading Edge
"Barbara Kennedy chronicles evolutionary stages of generations of views of the discovery of our planet. The presentation is lucid and enjoyable. This highly readable book can be compared wih Kenneth Hsu's books on Physical Principles of Sedimentology, which was published in 1994 . . . Such books are rare indeed."
Journal of Sedimentary Research
List of Illustrations.
1 Inventing Scientific Explanations.
2 Inventing the Age (and Origin) of the Earth.
3 Inventing 'Modern Earth Science': Charles Lyell and 'The Principles of Geology'.
4 Inventing the Ice Age: the Rôle of Louis Agassiz.
5 Inventing a Balanced View of 'Forces Now in Operation': Charles Darwin's Travels in Space and Time.
6 Inventing a Fluvial Landscape: Powell, Gilbert and the Western Explorations.
7 The Invention of the Geographical Cycle and the Synthetic Genius of W. M. Davis.
8 Reinventing a Newtonian Universe: the Reductionist Revolution, 1945-1977.
9 Reinventing the Earth, 1977-: Homo sapiens, History and Micro-organisms.
Appendix I: Cast of Principal Characters.
Appendix II: Selective Glossary of Technical Terms.