Vanished Ocean: How Tethys Reshaped the World – Book Review
By Angela Youngman Jul 6, 2010, 16:33 GMT
Six million years ago, a vast ocean--which scientists have named Tethys--vanished from the face of the earth. How could such a huge body of water simply disappear? More interesting, how is it possible for scientists to know with certainty that Tethys existed for a quarter of a billion years, a period that includes the entire "Age of Dinosaurs" and almost all of the "Age of Mammals," right up to the ...more
Unless you are a geologist this is not an easy read, but it is extremely interesting. It is the story of a lost ocean, only now recorded by the presence of the Caspian Sea and the massive oil deposits in the Middle East and Central Asia. The Tethys ocean spanned four fifths of the earth and was the home to untold numbers of dinosaurs.
It disappeared just before the arrival of mankind. Dorrik Stow has undertaken a painstaking search for Tethys, and his research is incredibly detailed spanning large proportions of the world. The book explains how geologists can piece together clues from rocks and fossils to tell the story of a vanished ocean, and the movements of the landmasses which both created and later destroyed it.
There are the unexpected sagas - the drying up the Mediterranean being filled again by a massive cascade of water over the Straits of Gibraltar. I am not a scientist and some parts of the book did prove difficult to understand, but overall it was fascinating and thought provoking. Can such a dramatic change happen again? Thankfully, it is a long term story.
As Stow points out the oceans, currents and landforms are constantly moving. The world as we know it could be very different several million years hence.
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