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To many of us, the Earth's crust is a relic of ancient, unknowable history. But to a geologist, stones are richly illustrated narratives, telling gothic tales of cataclysm and reincarnation. For more than four billion years, in beach sand, granite, and garnet schists, the planet has kept a rich and idiosyncratic journal of its past. Fulbright Scholar Marcia Bjornerud takes the reader along on an eye-opening tour of Deep Time, explaining in elegant prose what we see and feel beneath our feet. Both scientist and storyteller, Bjornerud uses anecdotes and metaphors to remind us that our home is a living thing with lessons to teach. She shows how our planet has long maintained a delicate balance, and how the global give-and-take has sustained life on Earth through numerous upheavals. But with the rapidly escalating effects of human beings on their home planet, that cosmic balance is being threatened -- and the consequences may be catastrophic. Containing a glossary and detailed timescale, as well as vivid descriptions and historic accounts, Reading the Rocks is literally a history of the world, for all friends of the Earth.