landprints Author:walter sullivan In the whole course of human events, there is no tale to compare with the account of how the North American continent came to be formed. In Landprints, one of America's most renowned science writers, Walter Sullivan, science editor of The New York Times, tells - and celebrates - that history. Because of recent discoveries on both the East and ... more »the West Coast, parts of the epic are here presented to the public for the first time.
Though much of the land's history took place eons before humans walked the earth, the scares of floods, eruptions, continent-to-continent collisions, and the forces of winds, tides, and glaciers remain for all to see.
The story begins with the long and violent birth of the eastern mountains. A billion years ago a land mass appeared off the East Coast and plowed into the continent's rim. Remnants of the mountains raised in the widespread eruptions generated by that Grenville Collision can still be found.
In fact, no matter where one lives in North America, the traces of such movements of the earth are still visible if one knows how to read them. Mr. Sullivan explains them all with the clarity and enthusiasm that have become his trademark. Whether one is examining the tortured rocks in cuts along major highways or looking down on canyons and mountain ranges from 30,000 feet, there are wonders to behold.
Man's impact on the landscape - sometimes destructive - is also recounted: division of the Great Plains into the world's larges checkerboard, harnessing of entire river systems, excavation of open pit mines on a gargantuan scale.
Landprints is an engrossing account of the greatest show on earth: the making of the West and the "arrival" of Florida; the abortive splitting of the continent; the ice age floods that swept away part of Washington State; alteration of the landscape by meteorite impacts and volcanic eruptions on a scale no human eyes have witnessed; the creation of the Hawaiian islands; the mystery of the Carolina bays.
Here is Americana galore, for written on the land is not only the epic history of its formation but also the ongoing story of how we have transformed the continent from coast to coast.« less