The basic idea Seafloor spreading and magnetic anomalies Fracture zones and transform faults Subduction of oceanic lithosphere Rigid plates of lithosphere Tectonics of continents Tectonics of continents Further reading Index

The basic idea  Seafloor spreading and magnetic anomalies  Fracture zones and transform faults  Subduction of oceanic lithosphere  Rigid plates of lithosphere  Tectonics of continents  Tectonics of continents  Further reading  Index

The basic idea Seafloor spreading and magnetic anomalies Fracture zones and transform faults Subduction of oceanic lithosphere Rigid plates of lithosphere Tectonics of continents Tectonics of continents Further reading Index

Plate tectonics caused a revolution in our understanding of the Earth. It has aided our understanding of why earthquakes and volcanoes are found in distinct locations, how oceans form and disappear, and how mountain ranges were built. In this volume, Peter Molnar explores the history and significance of plate tectonics.

Rocks a Very Short Introduction

Rocks  a Very Short Introduction

Rocks a Very Short Introduction

Rocks, more than anything else, underpin our lives. They make up the solid structure of the Earth and of other rocky planets, and are present at the cores of gas giant planets. We live on the rocky surface of the planet, grow our food on weathered debris derived from rocks, and we obtain nearly all of the raw materials with which we found our civilization from rocks. From the Earth's crust to building bricks, rocks contain our sense of planetary history, and are a guide to our future. In this Very Short Introduction Jan Zalsiewicz looks at the nature and variety of rocks, and the processes by which they are formed. Starting from the origin of rocks and their key role in the formation of the Earth, he considers what we know about the deep rocks of the mantle and core, and what rocks can tell us about the evolution of the Earth, and looks at those found in outer space and on other planets. 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.

Biogeography a Very Short Introduction

Biogeography  a Very Short Introduction

Biogeography a Very Short Introduction

Biogeography is the study of geographic variation in all characteristics of life - ranging from genetic, morphological and behavioural variation among regional populations of a species, to geographic trends in diversity of entire communities across our planet's sufrace. From the ancient hunters and gatherers to the earliest naturalists, Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, and scientists today, the search for patterns in life has provided insights that proved invaluable for understanding the natural world. And many, if not most, of the compelling kaleidoscope of patterns in biological diversity make little sense unless placed in an explicit geographic context. The Very Short Introduction explains the historical development of the field of biogeography, its fundamental tenets, principles and tools, and the invaluable insights it provides for understanding the diversity of life in the natural world. As Mark Lomolino shows, key questions such as where species occur, how they vary from place to place, where their ancestors occurred, and how they spread across the globe, are essential for us to develop effective strategies for conserving the great menagerie of life across 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.

Earth System Science

Earth System Science

Earth System Science

When humanity first glimpsed planet Earth from space, the unity of the system that supports humankind entered the popular consciousness. The concept of the Earth's atmosphere, biosphere, oceans, soil, and rocks operating as a closely interacting system has rapidly gained ground in science. This new field, involving geographers, geologists, biologists, oceanographers, and atmospheric physicists, is known as Earth System Science. In this Very Short Introduction, Tim Lenton considers how a world in which humans could evolve was created; how, as a species, we are now reshaping that world; and what a sustainable future for humanity within the Earth System might look like. Drawing on elements of geology, biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, Lenton asks whether Earth System Science can help guide us onto a sustainable course before we alter the Earth system to the point where we destroy ourselves and our current civilisation. 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.

Minerals A Very Short Introduction

Minerals  A Very Short Introduction

Minerals A Very Short Introduction

Minerals existed long before any forms of life, playing a key role in the origin and evolution of life; an interaction with biological systems that we are only now beginning to understand. Exploring the traditional strand of mineralogy, which emphasises the important mineral families, the well-established analytical methods (optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction) and the dramatic developments made in techniques over recent decades, David Vaughan also introduces the modern strand of mineralogy, which explores the role minerals play in the plate tectonic cycle and how they interact with the living world. Demonstrating how minerals can be critical for human health and illness by providing essential nutrients and releasing poisons, Vaughan explores the multitude of ways in which minerals have aided our understanding of the world. 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.

Geophysics

Geophysics

Geophysics

Geophysics is the physics of the Earth. Central to the Earth Sciences today, it encompasses areas such as seismology, volcanism, plate tectonics, gravitational anomalies, and the Earth's magnetic field (present and past, as captured in rocks), all of which give clues to both the structure and the working of the Earth. In this Very Short Introduction, William Lowrie describes the internal and external processes that affect the planet, as well as the principles and methods of geophysics used to investigate them. He explains how analysis of the seismic waves produced in earthquakes reveals the internal structure of the Earth. Geophysicists have established that the greatest source of energy powering geological processes is the Earth's internal heat. Deep inside the Earth, the temperature is high enough to produce a fluid outer core of molten iron. It is the motion in this molten iron layer that produces the Earth's magnetic field, which shields the planet against harmful radiation from the Sun and outer space, and thus makes the planet habitable. Lowrie describes how the magnetic field also magnetizes rocks during their formation, leaving a permanent record of the ancient field and its direction that geophysicists have learned to use to interpret past motions of the continents and tectonic plates. From analyzes of Earth's deepest interior to measurements made from Earth-orbiting satellites, Lowrie shows how geophysical exploration is vitally important in the search for mineral resources, and emphasizes our need to understand the history of our planet and the processes that govern its continuing evolution. 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.

Intelligence a Very Short Introduction

Intelligence  a Very Short Introduction

Intelligence a Very Short Introduction

Some people are cleverer than others. This everyday observation is the subject of an academic field that is often portrayed as confused and controversial, when in fact, the field of intelligence holds some of psychology's best-replicated findings. This Very Short Introduction describes what psychologists have discovered about how and why people differ in their thinking powers. Drawing on large scale data Ian Deary considers how many types of intelligence there are, and how intelligence changes with age. Along the way he tackles some of the most burning questions surrounding intelligence, such as whether larger brains are cleverer, and how genes and environments contribute to people's intelligence differences. He also considers the new field of cognitive epidemiology, which draws links between intelligence and better health, less illness, and longer life, and asks whether intelligence is increasing. In this new edition Deary also addresses the controversial question of whether men and women differ in intelligence. Throughout he provides a clear description of the data we can use to answer these questions and more. 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.

Globalization a Very Short Introduction

Globalization  a Very Short Introduction

Globalization a Very Short Introduction

We live today in an interconnected world in which ordinary people can became instant online celebrities to fans thousands of miles away, in which religious leaders can influence millions globally, in which humans are altering the climate and environment, and in which complex social forces intersect across continents. This is globalization. In the fifth edition of his bestselling Very Short Introduction Manfred B. Steger considers the major dimensions of globalization: economic, political, cultural, ideological, and ecological. He looks at its causes and effects, and engages with the hotly contested question of whether globalization is, ultimately, a good or a bad thing. From climate change to the Ebola virus, Donald Trump to Twitter, trade wars to China's growing global profile, Steger explores today's unprecedented levels of planetary integration as well as the recent challenges posed by resurgent national populism. 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.

Dementia a Very Short Introduction

Dementia  a Very Short Introduction

Dementia a Very Short Introduction

As more of us live longer, the fear of an old age devastated by brain diseases like dementia is growing. Many people are already facing the challenges posed by these progressive and terminal conditions, whether in person or because they are caring for loved ones. Dementia is now the fifth most common cause of death across the world. It is a small wonder that understanding, preventing, and finally curing these illnesses is now a global priority. Recent advances in brain research have given scientists a better chance than ever of finding ways to help patients, carers, and clinicians dealing with dementia. Yet there is still no effective treatment. Why has progress been so slow? And what can we all do to reduce our chances of getting the disease? In this Very Short Introduction Kathleen Taylor offers a guide to the science of dementia and brain ageing. Never forgetting the human costs of brain disorders - movingly illustrated throughout the book - she also discusses their costs to society. Clearly explaining the research, she sets out the main ideas which have driven dementia science, and the new contenders hoping to make a breakthrough. Taylor also looks at risk factors, and how to lower our chances of succumbing to dementia. Assessing current and potential treatments, including both drugs and other approaches, she explains, clearly and gently, what help is available for someone who is diagnosed with dementia, and how to boost the chances of living well with the condition. 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.

Climate A Very Short Introduction

Climate  A Very Short Introduction

Climate A Very Short Introduction

In this Very Short Introduction, Mark Maslin looks at all aspects of climate, from the physical and chemical factors that drive it and how climate differs from weather, to how climate has affected human settlements and the cyclic features of it. He ends with a look at climate change and our current approaches to solving it.