Catastrophic Episodes in Earth History by Claude AlbrittonCatastrophic Episodes in Earth History by Claude Albritton

Catastrophic Episodes in Earth History

byClaude Albritton

Paperback | January 3, 2013

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Year by year the Earth sciences grow more diverse, with an inevitable increase in the degree to which rampant specialization isolates the practitioners of an ever larger number of subfields. An increasing emphasis on sophisticated mathematics, physics and chemistry as well as the use of advanced technology have set up barriers often impenetrable to the uninitiated. Ironically, the potential value of many specialities for other, often non-contiguous ones has also increased. What is at the present time quiet, unseen work in a remote corner of our discipline, may tomorrow enhance, even revitalize some entirely different area. The rising flood of research reports has drastically cut the time we have available for free reading. The enormous proliferation of journals expressly aimed at small, select audiences has raised the threshold of access to a large part of the literature so much that many of us are unable to cross it. This, most would agree, is not only unfortunate but downright dangerous, limiting by sheer bulk of paper or difficulty of compre­ hension, the flow of information across the Earth sciences because, after all it is just one earth that we all study, and cross fertilization is the key to progress. If one knows where to obtain much needed data or inspiration, no effort is too great. It is when we remain unaware of its existence (perhaps even in the office next door) that stagnation soon sets in.
Title:Catastrophic Episodes in Earth HistoryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:9.25 × 6.1 × 0.68 inPublished:January 3, 2013Publisher:Springer NetherlandsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:940109148X

ISBN - 13:9789401091480

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Table of Contents

1 Historical and legendary disasters.- 1.1 Natural disasters of historical record.- 1.2 Legendary accounts of floods.- 1.3 A naturalistic account of the deluge from the 17th century.- 1.4 The Ussher chronology.- 2 Obligatory catastrophism of the latter 17th century.- 2.1 Constraints on theorizing based on biblical chronology.- 2.2 Steno's prodromus.- 2.3 Hooke's views on fossils, floods and earthquakes.- 3 The antiquity of the Earth as perceived in Neptunist and Plutonist theories of the 18th century.- 3.1 Neptunian theories.- 3.2 Hutton's Plutonist theory.- 3.3 Theoretical geology towards the end of the 18th century.- 4 Geology's heroic age.- 4.1 Geological isms of the early 19th century.- 4.2 The Wernerian Society.- 4.3 Playfair's Illustrations.- 4.4 Hall's experiments.- 4.5 Cuvier's catastrophism.- 4.6 Buckland's diluvialism.- 5 Uniformitarians and catastrophists of the 19th century.- 5.1 Lyellian uniformitarianism.- 5.2 The christening of uniformitarianism and catastrophism.- 5.3 Sedgwick's criticism of the uniformitarian doctrine.- 5.4 Lyell's responses to his critics.- 5.5 Agassiz and the demise of diluvialism.- 5.6 Lyell's influence on Darwin.- 5.7 The Kelvin disturbance.- 5.8 Discovery of radioactivity.- 6 Meteorite craters.- 6.1 Impact and explosion craters.- 6.2 The Meteor Crater of Arizona.- 6.3 Other solitary explosion craters.- 6.4 Impact craters.- 6.5 Mixed clusters of impact and explosion craters.- 6.6 The Tungushka meteor.- 6.7 The rarity of meteorite craters.- 7 Cryptoexplosion structures.- 7.1 General features.- 7.2 Controversy concerning origin.- 7.3 A sampler of cryptoexplosion structures.- 7.4 Effects of explosive impacts on organisms.- 8 Mass extinctions.- 8.1 Major episodes.- 8.2 The search for periodicities.- 8.3 Selectivity in extinction events.- 9 Catastrophist scenarios for mass extinctions.- 9.1 The Alvarez hypothesis for terminal Cretaceous extinctions.- 9.2 Evidence supportive of the Alvarez hypothesis.- 9.3 Consequences of impact and explosion of extraterrestrial bodies.- 9.4 Radiation as a cause of mass extinctions.- 9.5 'Bad water' hypotheses.- 10 Extinction of the dinosaurs.- 10.1 Dinosaurmania.- 10.2 Discovery and naming.- 10.3 Points of general agreement concerning dinosaurs.- 10.4 Some hypotheses for extinction.- 10.5 Endotherms or ectotherms?.- 10.6 Bang or whimper?.- 11 Reactions to catastrophist hypotheses for mass extinctions.- 11.1 Hypotheses invoking impacts of extraterrestrial bodies.- 11.2 Hypotheses invoking radiation.- 11.3 Problems with iridium and other platinum-group metals.- 11.4 Evidence provided by microspherules.- 11.5 Arctic-spill hypothesis.- 12 Alternative hypotheses for mass extinctions.- 12.1 Related to volcanism.- 12.2 Related to changes in global temperature.- 12.3 Related to changes in sea-level.- 12.4 Related to history of plant life.- 13 The new catastrophism.- 13.1 Revival of uniformitarianism in the 20th century.- 13.2 A change in perspective.- 13.3 The impactors.- 13.4 Impact as a fundamental process in planetary evolution.- 13.5 Cosmic impacts and explosions.- 13.6 Giant impact theory of lunar origin.- 13.7 Catastrophic causes of mass extinctions.- 13.8 Status of neocatastrophism.- 13.9 A revolution in the Earth and planetary sciences?.- 13.10 Progress of the extinction debate.- 13.11 A farewell to isms.- References.