Rampino recounts his conversion to the impact hypothesis, describing his visits to meteor-strike sites and his review of the existing geological record. The new geology he outlines explicitly rejects nineteenth-century “uniformitarianism,” which casts planetary change as gradual and driven by processes we can see at work today. Rampino offers a cosmic context for Earth’s geologic evolution, in which cataclysms from above in the form of comet and asteroid impacts and from below in the form of huge outpourings of lava in flood-basalt eruptions have led to severe and even catastrophic changes to the Earth’s surface. This new geology sees Earth’s position in our solar system and galaxy as the keys to understanding our planet’s geology and history of life. Rampino concludes with a controversial consideration of dark matter’s potential as a triggering mechanism, exploring its role in heating Earth’s core and spurring massive volcanism throughout geologic time.
⧫ detailed paleoecologic studies of critical intervals in Earth history
⧫ the calibration of the time scale for global use
⧫ the establishment of Global Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSPs) for the definition of chronostratigraphic boundaries.
This book constitutes an excellent and probably unique example of how interdisciplinary stratigraphic and geochronologic studies are approached with modern methodologies and techniques.
It contains numerous unpublished, accurate radioisotopic dates of volcano-sedimentary layers interbedded in fossiliferous marine and continental Miocene sequences representing Mediterranean and Pacific environments. New, extremely detailed paleontologic data which constitute the basis for an accurate definition of the Miocene biostratigraphy, and the study of the ecologic evolution of Miocene marine environments are also included.
The chapters are complimented by black-and-white photographs, graphic figures, and tables.
Stratigraphers, paleontologists and sedimentologists plus geologists working in oil companies will certainly find this work of interest.