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Our Magnetic Earth: The Science of Geomagnetism



Pub. Date:
Univ of Chicago Pr
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This is the edition with a publication date of 11/15/2010.

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For the general public, magnetism often seems more the province of new age quacks, movie mad scientists, and grade-school teachers than an area of actual, ongoing scientific inquiry. But as Ronald Merrill reveals inOur Magnetic Earth, geomagnetism really is an enduring, vibrant area of science, one that offers answers to some of the biggest questions about our planet's pastand maybe even its future. In a clear and careful fashion, he lays out the physics of geomagnetism and magnetic fields, then goes on to explain how Earth's magnetic field provides crucial evidence for our understanding of continental drift and plate tectonics; how and why animals, ranging from bacteria to mammals, sense and use the magnetic field; how changes in climate over eons can be studied through variations in the magnetic field in rocks; and much more. Throughout, Merrill peppers his scientific account with bizarre anecdotes and fascinating details, from levitating pizzas to Moon missions to blackmailing KGB agentsa reminder that real science can at times be stranger, and more amusing, than fiction. A winning primer for anyone who has ever struggled with a compass or admired a ragged V of migrating geese,Our Magnetic Earthdemonstrates that education and entertainment need not be polar opposites.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Magnetism and the Present Magnetic Fieldp. 1
Magnetic Field Reversalsp. 33
Earth's Internal Composition and the Origin of Earth's Magnetic Fieldp. 73
The Sun-Earth Connectionp. 113
Magnetic Orientation and Navigation by Animalsp. 144
The Effects of Geomagnetism and Plate Tectonics on Climate and Paleoclimatep. 177
Epilogue Some Parting Commentsp. 214
Appendix: Rock Magnetism Fundamentalsp. 217
Notesp. 229
Indexp. 255
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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