The Planet in a Pebble
By Jan Zalasiewicz
Review by Freddie (Earth Sciences)
The Planet in a Pebble exposed me to how truly immense the Earth’s history is, both in terms of deep time and change. Reading it, I was struck by how difficult it can be to think on a geological timescale, with events which have taken millions of years being considered brief and hundreds of millions of years making up the geological history of many of the rocks we see today. Learning about the history of slate, even from just one part of the Earth, was deeply illuminating, allowing me to gain insight into the processes that have shaped the Earth from its inception from plate tectonics to the process of sedimentation and orogeny. I find the idea of a pebble as a time capsule, full of data that catalogues the Earth’s long past in almost perfect detail, that we are only just beginning to decode, to be most compelling. The way in which Zalasiewicz managed to create a coherent narrative following the entirety of the tumultuous and varied history of one pebble from the Welsh coast was particularly impressive, displaying the sheer breadth of subjects that are covered within the Earth Sciences umbrella — something which was a key component in me eventually choosing to study it at undergraduate. Ultimately, The Planet in a Pebble offered me an outstanding introduction to the subject which I now love, acting as a catalyst for me to explore the subject further and begin to discover which topics within such a broad subject interest me most particularly.
The Planet in a Pebble: A Journey into Earth’s Deep History by Jan Zalasiewicz
Read more reviews on our Reading Bank.
Published: 21 September 2023