From Publishers Weekly
Visually spectacular, this standout guide to our planet offers a thorough look at the Earth's physical dynamics. Divided into five major sections-Planet Earth, Land, Ocean, Atmosphere and Tectonic Earth-the book explores the planet's environment, weather systems and general physical makeup. The large-format volume begins with the Earth's history and anatomy, featuring pages of stunning photos (one image shows a river of red-hot lava running into the sea), comprehensive layouts and excellent diagrams (e.g., a cut-out of the Earth's structure, from inner core to the chemical composition of its atmosphere). A chapter on rocks explains the many various types of metamorphic and sedentary stones, for instance, while a chapter on rivers and lakes showcases beautiful photos of the endless Amazon, with smaller sidebar photos of the animals that live in the tropics and color-coded maps of the region. Pretty enough to serve as a coffee table book, this volume also contains a tremendous amount of absorbing information.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
How to catalog the earth? Luhr and fellow staff members at the Smithsonian Institution have put together an encyclopedic, picture-rich, beautifully designed compendium that draws on up-to-date research in numerous fields to tell the incredible story of our planet's birth, place in the cosmos, and evolution, noting all the primary characteristics that make this flourishing blue green planet unique within the solar system. The writing is clear, animated, and engrossing. The page layouts are works of graphic art: loaded with complex visual and textual information, they are nonetheless airy, balanced, and inviting. A grand time line beginning with the big bang and moving through the full spectrum of geological eras serves as an overture to the detailed story of the earth's dramatic coalescence into the world we know. Detailed looks at rocks and minerals segue into multifaceted coverage of the atmosphere, tectonic plates, glaciers, earthquakes, volcanoes, deserts, grasslands, rivers, forests, mountains, oceans and seas, as well as the topography of civilization. This superb and stunning volume should be kept handy along with atlases and dictionaries. Donna Seaman
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