Synopses & Reviews
Neville Price presents a major breakthrough in our understanding of the subject of plate tectonics in this new book. In this ambitious look at the importance of impacts of objects from space on the earth, he challenges the fundamentals of the theory on which geoscience has rested for the past 25 years.
In the latter half of the 20th century, earth-scientists gradually became aware of the scale and effect of bombardment by meteoric material on Earth. Prior to 1950 only a handful of small craters were generally accepted as resulting from impact events. Now certain impacts number around 150, with four such features measuring over 100km in diameter.
Neville Price evaluates the mechanisms that give rise to plate movements. Generally, such plates move slowly at about the rate-of-growth of human nails and their tracks are usually smooth, gentle curves . Major Impacts and Plate Tectonics presents evidence to show that impacts can cause significant and dramatic changes in track, which cannot be explained by current theories of plate tectonics. The book also demonstrates that such major impact events often coincide with the development of continental flood basalts and oceanic plateau basalts and frequently coincide with major stratigraphic stage boundaries and toxicity, which in turn can be associated with periods of extinction. It concludes that geological history comprises periods of relatively orderly, evolutionary change in Earth and life-forms punctuated by catastrophic changes induced by major impacts that reset the evolutionary clock.
This is an ambitious and controversial book. Internationally respected geologist Neville J. Price points out that the currently held mechanisms of the widely accepted plate tectonic theory, upon which geoscience has rested for the past 30 years, are not capable of generating the magnitude of stresses required to drive plates at their known speed, or to explain known sudden changes in the direction of plate motion. By considering the experimental, field and theoretical aspects of impact tectonics, he concludes that traditional geology is largely determined and driven by major impacts. He then explores the future implications of small and medium-to-large sized impacts on the Earth.
This book is written as a 'wake up call for geologists' from advanced undergraduate level upwards, and fills an important gap in the literature. Impact theory will stimulate healthy discussion and debate, and represents a major breakthrough in our understanding.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -338) and index.