From Publishers Weekly This survey of four-and-a-half billion years of Earth's past is a splendid introduction to geology and paleontology for the lay reader. MacDougall, a professor of earth science at the Scripps Oceanographic Institute (UC-San Diego), takes us step-by-step through the geologic time scale. Clues to the past lie in rocks, in oxygen isotopes and on the ocean floor. MacDougall traces the rise of continents and the origins of life in each era. He discusses tectonic plates, the major extinctions and their probable causes, climate and the Ice Ages, and he speculates on the future of our planet. To compress Earth's history into a single, lucidly written volume is a major achievement. Illustrations. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. From School Library Journal YA. A short, succinct course in geology, ideal for first-year students or anyone else who has a lay interest in the subject. Full of charts, graphs, and illustrations, this excellent resource explains all of the elements needed for a fuller understanding of geology in a concise and understandable way. With its full index, this offering is a good supplemental text or research tool. Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.