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Stephen W. Hurrell (Near Liverpool, UK)

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Ezcap 2.0 Video Capture (847) Transfer video to DVD/CD with USB interface.
Ezcap 2.0 Video Capture (847) Transfer video to DVD/CD with USB interface.

5.0 out of 5 stars Works well, 26 Jun. 2016
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It was slightly difficult to get this operating with Windows 10 but once I had overcome that problem it worked fine. Very pleased with the video capture.

Life Pictorial Atlas of the World
Life Pictorial Atlas of the World
by DobellByroncobbS
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Right one this time, 7 Jun. 2016
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Exactly what I wanted.

On the Origin of Continents and Oceans: A Paradigm Shift in Understanding
On the Origin of Continents and Oceans: A Paradigm Shift in Understanding
by James Maxlow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £130.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The next geological revolution is happening right now, 18 Mar. 2016
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Anyone researching into Earth expansion will find it a difficult task. There are hundreds of detailed scientific papers to read with some of them extending to over 50 pages. Scientific conferences devoted to the subject also tend to examine the subject with a high level of technical detail. This new book by Dr James Maxlow, an Australian geologist, consolidates the work of the many scientists who have explored the expansion concept into a readily readable form whilst still presenting the information in depth. It gives us all the latest research into expansion and brings the evidence up to date.

Maxlow’s new book is an inspiring work covering nearly 500 pages, including many diagrams and Earth models in full colour. The colour is particularly important for the impressive reconstructions of the Earth as it expands over hundreds of millions of years. All the continental plates can be reconstructed onto a globe that gets progressively smaller into the geological past. Spread over millions of years, these reconstructions use the latest data available for the geological age of the ocean floor. Early reconstructions of a few decades ago indicated expansion but Maxlow shows how the latest ocean floor data supports the theory to an even greater degree than previously achieved. He also extends the geological period covered into deep time to reconstruct the Earth during these early periods of geology.

Maxlow gives a brief description of conventional Plate Tectonic theory which he then uses to illustrate how expansion provides a better solution to the many geological problems the Earth presents. The conventional wisdom is that the Earth has been the same unchanging diameter for at least the last 4,000 million years and we are often told that we must accept this almost as an act of faith. Maxlow upsets this conventional view by examining the physical evidence to reveal that there is geological confirmation that our planet has slowly evolved over this immense period of time from a smaller planet to its present size.

It habitually seems that some people can’t relate to new theories without responding in an “intemperate manner” - it was just the same in Hutton’s and Wegener’s time. It is a pleasure to observe that Maxlow has ignored any “intemperate” responses about the expansion theory and clearly focused his book on decades of methodical research about expansion. The book presents the factual evidence as he understands it and he is able to show how the new data available “is not consistent with conventional tectonic theory and therefore requires rethinking, reinterpreting, or redirecting.”

Maxlow notes that although the concept of expansion has been debated for many years, the rejection of the idea is based on arguments from the 1950s to 1970s, well before the modern data Maxlow has used. Maxlow argues that the theory of expansion was rejected using data that is now many decades old so it now needs to be re-examined using modern global information. He has taken this bold step “to see if the modern global data fits better on an Earth whose radius is changing through time.” The answer he sees is that the evidence does support the concept of expansion and he goes on to demonstrate how expansion explains the geological observations with numerous examples. Maxlow explains how the Earth’s past history, “shows a very simple, predictable, and easily understood process involving a progressively changing Earth surface area and curvature through time.” He uses the modern physical evidence “to recreate and discuss the entire 4,000 million years of Earth’s recorded geological history.”

Maxlow uses the new term Expansion Tectonics to embrace all the older terms for describing expansion. He notes that conventional theory insists that “continental and seafloor crustal development is a random, non-predictive, and somewhat catastrophic process.” In complete contrast to this Maxlow’s reconstructions show a process that is progressive, predictive and evolutionary. Magnetic North and South Poles are precisely located and the established poles and equator coincide fully with observed climate, plant and animal evidence. All these various strands of evidence interconnect. They show that Expansion Tectonics represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of the Earth.

Maxlow explains that with the Plate Tectonics theory the “theoretical Tethys, Iapetus and Panthalassa Oceans are required to maintain a constant radius Earth premise.” These needed to be of a similar size to the present oceans to allow the continents to be reunited. However, on a smaller diameter Earth these large oceans are not required. There is still evidence that some form of ancient seaway existed so Maxlow uses the original names but calls them seas instead of oceans to illustrate the difference. They were small inland seaways and Maxlow once again uses his ancient globe reconstructions to show these ancient seas in position.

The discussion on palaeomagnetic results is enlightening. Palaeomagnetics caused much discussion about the possibility of expansion particularly during the 1960s and 1970s and the debate was published in Nature and other scientific journals. Some scientists argued that it proved the Earth hadn’t changed diameter, some argued that it proved it had changed diameter and some argued that it wasn’t accurate enough to prove either. Many of the arguments became more convoluted as time went on with the “minimum scatter method” and “statistical analysis” being used to prove that the Earth hadn’t expanded. These arguments from the 1970s are still often repeated today. Maxlow cuts straight through this “minimum scatter” and “statistical analysis” argument and plots the magnetic poles straight onto an expanding Earth to test the evidence. Having done this he finds that he can “physically locate the ancient magnetic poles and corresponding equators on each small Earth model”. The palaeomagnetic evidence supports expansion of the Earth. Expansion means that the location of each ancient magnetic pole remains, “diametrically opposed throughout this time, as it is today” and he precisely positions the poles on his reconstructions of the ancient Earth. In later chapters Maxlow compares these magnetic poles with climatic zones and plant and animal distribution to find that they all match.

One very useful addition for anyone who wants to explore palaeomagnetics in greater detail is the appendix of palaeomagnetic formulas. Having noted that conventional formulas are “based on the fundamental assumption that the Earth’s radius is constant” Maxlow derives the formulas necessary for an expanding Earth and presents them over several pages.

Having established the change in the Earth’s radius through time Maxlow further investigates the change in other parameters like Earth mass, density and surface gravity. He takes us through the problems of a constant mass expanding Earth and explains how this results in an unacceptably high density and surface gravity. Having discussed the various difficulties in detail Maxlow explains that this is the reason “an increase in Earth mass appears to be the most acceptable scenario by most researchers”. He notes that Carey had “concluded from his own research that, because of the limitations shown from estimates of our ancient surface gravity, there may be no alternative but to consider an exponential increase in Earth mass with time”. Maxlow calculates that this increasing mass expansion would cause the Earth’s surface gravity to increase exponentially so it “increases from approximately one third of the present value during the Archaean and mid-Proterozoic time” up to the present.

Maxlow returns to the concept of a changing surface gravity caused by increasing mass later in his book. In one later section he discusses how life has been affected by the change in Earth’s diameter and mass throughout geological time. Maxlow mentions my own work as outlined in my book, Dinosaurs and the Expanding Earth, and explains that “Hurrell … provided independent evidence for a reduced gravity during these times after analysing the mechanical aspects of dinosaur bones [and] independently calculated a surface gravity during the Permian of 50 percent of the present surface gravity.” This value of surface gravity is of course the same conclusion Maxlow had presented in the first part of the book based on geological evidence and he offers the evidence for reduced gravity as confirmation of the latest thinking about mass increase.

Several different mechanisms for mass increase have been proposed by different scientists over the decades. Maxlow presents the solar wind as an example of a “proposed causal mechanism for an increase in Earth mass … in order to stimulate further discussion and research”. The solar wind is “a rarefied flow of hot plasma emitted by the Sun … with a density of around 5 ions per cubic centimetre.” During magnetic storms it can become much denser and this solar wind has been shown to be trapped by the Earth. Maxlow is able to describe new research that suggests this process allows the solar wind to reach the Earth’s surface. This concept is being researched by the American John Eichler who is quoted as explaining how there “is no lack of component particles to create new matter deep within the body of the Earth. [It] is plausible and warrants further serious scientific investigation.”

This book review was based on Maxlow’s hardback book which is somewhat expensive even for a text book. As a cheaper alternative, Maxlow has also provided another version in the new kindle ebook format. The kindle ebook version is presented as two separate ebooks, part one, On the Origin of Continents and Oceans: Book 1 Empirical Small Earth Modelling Studies and part two, On the Origin of Continents and Oceans: Book 2: The Earths Rock Record.

It is clear that Professor Carey made a perceptive choice in selecting Dr Maxlow to receive his expansion baton. Maxlow has provided an excellent resource that adds to the decades of work of many scientists by providing us with a comprehensive text book. It will enable geological students to easily review the latest evidence indicating the Earth has expanded over geological time. Maxlow’s full colour reconstructions of the expanding globe are particularly useful in this respect. The globes clearly illustrate the highly predictive nature of expansion and allow us all to see how expansion agrees with the palaeomagnetic, climate, plant and animal evidence. As the leading rival theory to Plate Tectonics this book clearly has a place in every university library. The evidence presented in the book allows us all to contemplate: Is expansion the next big idea that will revolutionise our view of the Earth?

This review was originally published on

Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor
Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor
by Hali Felt
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who was Marie Tharp?, 5 Jun. 2014
One scientist I usually mention if a conversation ever gets around to women in science is Marie Tharp. The response is usually: Who was Marie Tharp? I always find it surprising that she is so little known. Most people, even those uninterested in geology, have seen a map of the ocean floor with the mid-ocean ridge shown encircling the Earth like the seam of a gigantic baseball. These maps are based on the work of the Tharp and Heezen team and older versions were drawn by Tharp herself. It is estimated that there were over 30 million copies of various editions of their maps in circulation by the 1980s. Most text books about the ocean floor contain at least one or more maps based on their work.

So Hali Felt’s book about Marie Tharp is a welcome addition to the history of the geology of the ocean floor in the latter half of the 20th century. She manages to tell a difficult and often confusing story of a woman working at the very forefront of knowledge of the ocean floor when some people still thought women weren’t supposed to be scientists. Hali Felt doesn’t try to impose her own impressions but gradually tells the story to let you form your own view of the woman. One of the most defining stories for me was the failed attempt of one previous writer between 1974 and 1978 to write Marie Tharp's story. The author was particularly keen to include details of the long-standing dispute with the Head of Lamont Geological Observatory, Maurice Ewing. Lesser people may well have seen this as a perfect opportunity to promote their own fame while setting some old scores. Yet Marie Tharp persistently refused to give details about the clash until the book foundered. It was never published.

We probably can never step into another person’s shoes and understand them fully but Hali Felt has certainly left me with a clear impression of Marie Tharp. She was a doer rather than a talker who felt it was more important and exciting to reveal the floors of the oceans than engage in the politics of science. If there were obstacles placed in her way she merely overcame them as quietly as possible so she could work on her beloved maps. She was everything a true scientist should be.

Quality Black Medium Ballpoint Pen Refills (Pack of 12)
Quality Black Medium Ballpoint Pen Refills (Pack of 12)
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Work well, 17 Sept. 2013
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The refills work well and provide a very good price even including the post and packing. I'm just hoping I remember I've got them when I next need a refill!

by Kenneth Wood
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Geology from the 19th century, 17 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: RICH SEAMS (Hardcover)
This is an interesting little book about the Manchester Geological Society in the 19th century. At least I know now why I'm currently a member of the Manchester Geological Association now rather than a Society. It’s interesting that the society was struggling for members for several years in the late 1800s when we see how popular the Manchester association is now. All seats taken for some lectures! At first I thought there wasn’t going to be much in the book about the old geological society but then realized that each chapter is self-contained so they go back to the beginning every time. At the end there’s two papers from the late 1800s discussing the coal measures – probably the latest thinking at the time.

Here Be Dragons: How the study of animal and plant distributions revolutionized our views of life and Earth
Here Be Dragons: How the study of animal and plant distributions revolutionized our views of life and Earth
by Dennis McCarthy
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Introducing a new science, 4 Aug. 2013
It's always good when you discover a new science writer who writes with such a clear and logical style that it's a joy to read. Dennis McCarthy is one of those writers. He definitely goes into my list.

His first book (and let's hope there are many more to come) introduces us to the science of biogeography. Sounds complicated - but not when McCarthy describes it. He illustrates its power by describing some of its major contributions to science. I knew most of them already but hadn't realised it was the same basic science. Everybody has heard about Darwin's theory of evolution but I'd never seen it as the science of biogeography. But of course it is obvious once McCarthy describes it in his easy style. The life of the Galapagos islands did change as Darwin moved further west (how many time have I read that!) and yet I'd never really thought that was the same `science' that helped Wegener develop his theory of continental drift. One of the astonishing facts we are introduced to is the Wallace Line (of Darwin and Wallace fame) that divides the different types of animals inhabiting Asia from Australia. At one particular point between the Bali and Lombok the two different types of animals are separated by a sea only 25 miles (40 km) wide. A short boat trip can transport you from Asian to Australian types of life.

It's a five star book for me.

The earth expansion evidence. A challenge for geology, geophysics and astronomy. Selected contributions to the interdisciplinary workshop held... Con CD-ROM
The earth expansion evidence. A challenge for geology, geophysics and astronomy. Selected contributions to the interdisciplinary workshop held... Con CD-ROM
by E. Boschi, S. Cwojdzinski G. Scalera
Edition: Turtleback

5.0 out of 5 stars Perplexing problems in geological science, 29 Mar. 2013
The editors of these selected contributions from the week-long Expanding Earth Workshop held in Erice note that,

"The last century was dominated by the creation of scientific theories: the newborn Relativistic, Quantum and Cosmological Theories are proper examples. The Earth Sciences followed this trend by proposing the principles of Plate tectonics. On the contrary, the concept of the Expanding Earth was not developed as a commonly accepted paradigm, but was an open field of original investigations, interpretations, and results. This innovative attitude is evident in the different interpretations of the Pacific and Indian oceans paleogeographical evolution; in the cosmological or incidental motor of expansion (still to be identified);in the different estimates of the Earth's radial expansion. This is a positive sign of vitality: we cannot crystallize these ideas in a few postulates from which we may deduce all the answers, and to which we may constrain all data. The Expanding Planet scheme provides a common explanation of several complex and debated issues relating to Paleontology, Paleomagnetism, Geology, Climatology and Astrogeodesy."

Which sets the scene for the subject of this book - a wide-ranging discussion about some of the most perplexing problems at the very limit of our knowledge in the geological sciences. Can we really believe that the Earth has expanded in size? And if so how? What evidence supports this view? Has gravity varied and is there any evidence in support of this? Is gravity variation related to the expanding Earth? All of these questions (and more) are discussed in great detail by a number of experts from many difference backgrounds, all with the one main objective of trying to understand how our world works more clearly.

The contents of the book include:

Table of Contents............vii
List of Participants............xi

Preface of the editors
Scalera G., Boschi E., Cwojdziriski S. .............3

The Earth Expansion Evidence - A Challenge for Geology, Geophysics, Astronomy and General Knowledge

2. Like a foreword
StocklinJ. ............11
Developments in the Geological Exploration of Nepal
Stocklin J. ............21
Biographical Sketch of Jo van Stocklin (A Selfportrait Preserved by his Widow Elisabeth)

3. General topics
Cwojdziriski S. ............29
Distribution of Tectonic Stresses Within the Earth Crust due to Expansion of its Interior
Maxlow J. ............41
Global Expansion Tectonics: Definitive Proof
Oilier C.D. ............61
Extension Everywhere - Rifts, Continental Margins and Island Arcs
Owen H. ............ 77
Earth Expansion - Some Mistakes, What Happened in the Palaeozoic and the Way Ahead
Pavlenkova N.I. ............ 91
Crust and Mantle Structural Evidences of Earth 's Expansion
Perin I. ........... 101
The Expanding Rings - Great Circles that Prove the Earth Expansion
Scalera G. ........... ll0
Distensional Mediterranean and World Orogens - Their Bearing to Mega-Dykes Active Rising .,,,.,.....161
Vogel K.
Contributions to the Question of Earth Expansion Based on Globe-Models

4. Physics & Cosmology: Why Earth is expanding?

Rlinr.1/ V ...........173
Geophysical Advances in Earth's Evolulion - Kinetic Gravity and Expanding Earth
Cahill R. ...........185
Dynamical 3-Space and the Earth's Black Hole - An Expanding Earth Mechanism
Edwards M. ...........197
Gravity, Cosmology and Expanding Earth
Kokus M. ...........213
Astronomical Quantization and Earth Expansion
Michelini M. ...........219
Deciphering the Ice-core Records May Explain the Mystery of Mass Extinctions Found by Paleontology
Miiller V. ...........227
The Cosmologies! Expansion of Small Regions and of Che Earth
Myers L.S. ...........133.
Accreation of the Earth and Solar System - How Planets Are Created, Grow and Expand to Become Suns
Scalera G. ...........239
If Space is Material, What Inertia Should Be? - Rediscovering a Dismissed Awareness of Ernst Mach
Shehu V. ...........243
Earth Expansion Through Activity of the Earth Core-Kernel as Active Cosmic Object

5. Geologic and geophysical evidence
Cwojdziriski S. ...........263
Geological Evolution of the Sudety Mts. Structure (Central Europe) on the Expanding Globe
K'Xhemasov G.G. ...........275
Expanding and Compacting Geoid - How its Undulations are Reflected in the Outer Geospheres
MeleG. ...........283
Mapping the Mono Across the Northern and Central Apennine Chain and Eastern Sicily - The Teleseismic Receiver Functions Method
Morris E. ...........291
The Role of the Instantia Crucis or Crucial Experiment in EE vs. PT Controversy in the 60 's
Oilier C.D. ...........297
Dykes, Crustal Extension and Global Tectonics

6. Gravity, expanding Earth and evolution of life
Hurrell S. ...........307
Ancient Life's Gravity and its Implications for the Expanding Earth
Mardfar R. ...........327
Relationship Between Gravity and Bio-Evolution - The Increasing Gravity Theory
Strutinski C. ...........343
Contradictory Aspects in the Evolution of Life - Hinting at Gravitational Acceleration Through Time

7. Problems coming from Geodesy
Devoti R., Esposito A., Pietrantonio G., Pisani A.R., Riguzzi F. ...........367
GPS Positioning and Velocity Field in the Apennines Subduction Zone
Sarti P. ...........377
The Consistency Between Local and Space Geodetic Observations - Accuracy of the Global Terrestrial Reference Frame
Scalera G. ...........389
Geodetic Problems of an Expanding Globe - Simple Critical Arguments
8. Geochemistry, origin of ore deposits and hydrocarbons
Gottfried R.J. ...........397
Composition and Development of the Earth - Insight from the Hydrogen-related Theory and the Expansion
Jacob K.-H. & Dietrich S. ...........407
Electric Field Forces and Self-Organization - From Common Concepts to New Insights
Maxlow J. ...........421
Metal, Coal and Hydrocarbon Distribution on an Expansion Tectonic Earth
Rodkin M.V. & Shatakhtsyan A.R. ...........439
Main Statistical Features of Major Ore and Oil Deposits - Is the Deposits' Formation Connected with Transformation of Matter Between Different Chemical Reservoirs of the Earth's Interior?
Sakhno V.G. ...........449
Problems of Genesis of the Impact Volcanism of El'gygytgyn Crater (Central Chukotka, Russia)
Scalera G. ...........463
Biogenic/Abiogenic Hydrocarbons' Origin - Possible Role of Technically Active Belts

9. Natural disasters prevention
Scalera G. ...........479
The Volcano-Seismic Clock of the South American Pacific Margin - A Possible First Link Between Natural Disaster Prevention and Expanding Earth

There are also links to more books about this subject in my Expanding Earth Listmania List.

Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters
Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters
by Donald R Prothero
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curious diatribe, 19 Nov. 2012
The reason I searched out Donald R. Prothero's book is highly unusual and a little bit eerie. A friend recently pointed out he was surprised to see that Prothero had been calling my web site a 'creationist web site' in his blog while also labeling me a 'creationist' for some time. Since I don't believe the Earth was created about 6,000 years ago, and none of my writings or presentations has ever said such a thing, I was amazed to discover that this geologist had attempted to brand me as someone who believed this. Strangely, he linked to my web page that has multiple references to the standard geological concept of an ancient Earth including 'continental crust over 3,800 million years old' amongst many others. Even a perfunctory look lasting a few seconds would show his portrayal of my web site (and book) was untrue. Since he is a well-known Professor of Geology with several books to his credit, reading his book to discover his definition of a 'creationist' seemed a good idea.

The first chapter of his book asks 'What is science?' but gives us a long list of things he doesn't like. The harangue is not just directed towards creationists but 'any pseudoscience or fringe idea', including UFOs, ESP, astrology, Bigfoot, Nessie, Yeti, psychic phenomena, palm reading and tarot cards. To say he doesn't like these is an understatement. He describes how 'pseudoscience tries to masquerade as science ... these parasites prey on people in all cultures and all walks of life, feeding the need for the mystical and miraculous, yet causing more harm than the little bit of psychological good feeling and reassurance that they temporarily provide.' I'm guessing that having your palm read isn't part of the fun during a seaside trip to the pleasure beach for the Prothero family.

He also doesn't like any anyone else discussing fossils even if they are 'expert in other fields' because 'none of those subjects gives them ANY background in fossils or paleontology, and none has published in any peer-reviewed paleontological journals, so they are complete amateurs when it comes to fossils' which perhaps explains why he doesn't like an engineer like me considering the problem of the dinosaurs' large size. The strange thing with Prothero's view is that Darwin's concept of evolution was a fringe idea when he published his book and it wasn't accepted by some scientists for many years. New ideas are fringe ideas. It would seem that evolution would have been discarded at birth using Prothero's criteria for judging a sound scientific idea. The new book Darwin's Ghosts: In Search of the First Evolutionists provides an engrossing read illustrating how the notion of evolution was always considered a radical idea even before Darwin.

After 20 pages of this first chapter we move deeper into 'Science and Creationism' in the second chapter. But at least this chapter tells us, 'The United States is home to ... religious extremism known as creationism. ... it has almost no following in Canada, Europe, Asia or most of the rest of the world...' which seems a relief, particularly after Prothero relates a passionate debate with the creationist Duane Gish in front of an audience that was '95 percent creationists'. He's also debated creationists on public television who use arguments that sound 'impressive to their audience with little science education.' By the fourth chapter this lecture about creationists has died down somewhat and some of the more interesting examples of evolution start to be discussed. Prothero touches on convergent evolution where different creatures evolve to fill the same ecological niches, and gives some examples were evolution can be seen happening today like the well known peppered moth which became darker during the industrial revolution so they were further camouflaged from predators. By chapter six we've moved onto Cyanobacterial mats and learn that 'it is likely that life was already established by 3.8 billion years ago.' Mostly the rest of the book gives many excellent scientific examples of evolution in the fossil record until the final chapter recaps the reason it all matters - namely creationism is a myth. An examination of the sales of books by some of the creationist authors Prothero mentions, Phillip Johnson and Duane Gish, indicates they have higher book sales than his own book, confirming that creationism is extremely fashionable in the US.

I found this book a strange mixture, so it almost seemed to have been written by two different people. It's evident he has an obsession with 'creationists' so perhaps this is why some of the observations about creationism seem banal: there is over a page mostly pointing out the evident reality that the world's animals couldn't physically fit into the ark, and these tirades sometimes don't seem to fit well within the wide-ranging and coherent discussion of the science of evolution in the rest of the book. We don't have any difficulty in the UK, probably because it is the home of the science of geology and evolution as outlined by James Hutton, John Smith, Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin, so it is difficult to relate to his problems. Geology is still popular amongst both professional and amateur geologist alike with many geological societies around the UK, including the Liverpool and Manchester geological societies which I have often enjoyed attending for a number of years.

Having now read his book, am I any closer to understanding why this geologist thinks I am a 'creationist'? Well no. His definition of a 'creationist' is much like mine and I don't believe in a 'young Earth' either. My web site and book, Dinosaurs and the Expanding Earth, clearly explains this: in reality a true understanding of my book provides additional evidence for evolution since life has evolved to suit its changing environment. It's true my ideas challenge some conventional thoughts in paleontology, and perhaps he's irritated that my book is popular with many people agreeing with me, but it seems strange to try to dismiss my ideas with a suggestion that is transparently untrue.

So, my rating for his book. I must say I found it intriguing that 'creationists' have such a strong influence in the US, even with his attempt to brand me as one. Perhaps he sees 'creationists' everywhere so many people have also been taken aback at being called one but it does make astonishing reading. Even with this poor introduction to this author I still find his book intriguing. If you are considering teaching evolution or geology in the US this book must be essential reading so long as you can endure the curious writing style that often disintegrates into a diatribe.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2014 11:46 AM BST

The Origin of Mountains
The Origin of Mountains
by Cliff Ollier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £63.99

5.0 out of 5 stars New Ideas About Mountains, 15 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Origin of Mountains by Cliff Ollier and Colin Pain is a book to start you thinking in a new fashion about mountains and how they formed. You may think it's simple - mountains were formed by folding rocks - but once you have read this highly innovative book you will understand that such a simple idea can't explain many of the world's mountains. It's much more complicated and reading this book may mean you will never look at mountains in the same way again.

The theory that plate tectonics causes mountains to form by folding rocks is a widely held concept used in many geology books and TV programs. Ollier and Pain examine this commonly held perception of folding and try to demonstrate with numerous examples from the field how folds are unrelated to mountain formation. In most mountains any folding happened many millions of years before they were formed. In other examples deeply folded layers are found under flat plains. Their conclusion is that folding is not the cause of mountain formation.

Having dismissed the simple view of folding causing mountains they present the evidence that mountains follow a standard sequence of formation. Firstly most mountains start as a flat low lying plain. These are then pushed up to form high level plateaus. Eventually, erosion of the plateaus forms mountains over millions of years. Many examples of the various stages of this sequence of mountain formation are given throughout the book from high level plateaus, then plateaus highly eroded at the edges and finally to a nearly completely formed mountain. Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, is given as an example that shows the final remnants of an old surface at the top and it's something I intend to examine in more detail on my next visit.

The book seems to contain examples from (what must surely be) virtually every mountain in the world. These are divided into a number of different chapters. There are also numerous diagrams and pictures to illustrate the concepts discussed in greater detail. Most of the ideas and concepts are related to various scientific papers and there is a comprehensive index if you feel the need to look at the data in more depth.

Chapter 10 examines a group of mountains that the authors say have been "...generally ignored in plate tectonic theory... ". These are mountains like the Drakenberg, the Western Ghats, the Eastern Highlands of Australia and the Appalachians, all found on passive continental margins. Once again the authors aren't disconcerted that these mountains don't fit any grand theory of mountain folding and simply examine the facts about the mountains. This seems to naturally lead on to the next chapter about drainage from plains and planation surfaces and what this can tell us.

One of the main points made by the authors is that most of the mountains of the world have been formed comparatively recently in geological timescales (within the last 5 million years or so) and this comparatively recent formation once again doesn't fit in with plate tectonics with its much longer timescale of a hundred million years or so. They also believe they can see periods of quiet tectonic activity followed by intense periods of world-wide mountain building. But why this should be is still a puzzle.

Indeed, though the authors make a very strong case for the process of mountain formation they do not present any firm conviction about the cause of this formation. Why are various sections of land thrust upwards to form plateaus? The authors give a table of twenty possible causes of tectonic uplift. For many I fear this would be off-putting but for me it is refreshing to find scientists who are prepared to say they don't know everything. After all if we knew everything then science would be very boring since there wouldn't be anything left to discover. As the authors note in the final chapters, the time is ripe for a renewed interest in the origin of mountains.

This book is very expensive for a new copy even as a paperback. I bought mine for a lot less using the `used - very good' option available on Amazon. I've obtained a number of books using this option and have been pleased with the results so far. Most `used' copies I've bought look as good as new to me.

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