The Planet In A Pebble by Jan Zalasiewicz

2.5 out of 5 stars

The sound of waves against a stony beach is quite soothing, but sitting on a beach like that is not the most comfortable unless you have a chair. The beach that I remember the most is the one at Norman’s Bay in Sussex; the stones there are multi-coloured from a pale grey to a fawn brown. But if you were to pick up a pebble from the beach, what stories could it tell you?

In this book, Zalasiewicz will take us on through the story of this single pebbles journey from the origins of the universe, the creation of our planet and the movement of the tectonic plates that have shifted the sediments from the surface and sea beds deep into the heart of the planet,

We will learn how the pebble is just not a piece of rock, smoothed by the relentless waves. Rather it is a tiny time machine that if you know how and where to look, it can reveal secrets on how it was made, the remnants of the creatures contained within and how it came to be in that place where it was found.

Mostly this is ok, but I did have several issues with it. I liked the concept of following the timeline of the pebble that he found from the beginnings to that moment of collection, but I thought that taking it right back to the moment of the big bang was a little too far. Even though parts of it were interesting, I did find that it veered too much into academic prose fairly often. One for those that are really into their geology!

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  1. Liz Dexter

    You’re having a pebble fest at the moment! I’d probably enjoy this as I’m bit into my geology, I even wanted to be a geologist for a while, but wasn’t good enough at maths to do the science.

    • Paul

      I try and theme reads where possible, as I think that seeing the same subject from various viewpoints is useful

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