Notes from Deep Time
From the secret fossils of London to the 3-billion-year-old rocks of the Scottish Highlands, and from state-of-the-art Californian laboratories to one of the world’s most dangerous volcanic complexes hidden beneath the green hills of western Naples, set out on an adventure to those parts of the world where the Earth’s life-story is written into the landscape. Helen Gordon turns a novelist’s eye on the extraordinary scientists who are piecing together this planetary drama. She gets to grips with the theory that explains how it all works – plate tectonics, a breakthrough as significant in its way as evolution or quantum mechanics, but much younger than either, and still with many secrets to reveal.
‘Astounding … To call this a “history” does not do justice to Helen Gordon’s ambition’ Simon Ings, Daily Telegraph ‘Awe-inspiring … She has imbued geological tales with a beauty and humanity’ Shaoni Bhattacharya-Woodward, Mail on Sunday The story of the Earth is written into our landscape: it’s there in the curves of hills, the colours of stone, surprising eruptions of vegetation. Wanting a fresh perspective on her own life, the writer Helen Gordon set out to read that epic narrative. Her odyssey takes her from the secret fossils of London to the 3-billion-year-old rocks of the Scottish Highlands, and from a state-of-the-art earthquake monitoring system in California to one of the world’s most dangerous volcanic complexes in Naples. At every step, she finds that the apparently solid ground beneath our feet isn’t quite as it seems.