"T. rex" and the Crater of Doom (Princeton Science Library)

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9780691131030:

Sixty-five million years ago, a comet or asteroid larger than Mount Everest slammed into the Earth, inducing an explosion equivalent to the detonation of a hundred million hydrogen bombs. Vaporized detritus blasted through the atmosphere upon impact, falling back to Earth around the globe. Disastrous environmental consequences ensued: a giant tsunami, continent-scale wildfires, darkness, and cold, followed by sweltering greenhouse heat. When conditions returned to normal, half the plant and animal genera on Earth had perished.

This horrific chain of events is now widely accepted as the solution to a great scientific mystery: what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? Walter Alvarez, one of the Berkeley scientists who discovered evidence of the impact, tells the story behind the development of the initially controversial theory. It is a saga of high adventure in remote locations, of arduous data collection and intellectual struggle, of long periods of frustration ended by sudden breakthroughs, of friendships made and lost, and of the exhilaration of discovery that forever altered our understanding of Earth's geological history.

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Review:

One of the great mysteries is what happened to the dinosaurs, and it has taken great detective work to give us an answer. In T. Rex and the Crater of Doom, some brilliant, not to mention determined, scientists roam the world and seek out the clues. What they conclude is that the earth withstood a colossal impact with a meteor (or perhaps a comet) 65 million years ago. The resulting cataclysm destroyed half the life on the planet.

Walter Alvarez, a geologist at the University of California at Berkeley, and one of the four scientists who present this theory on the mystery, tells the story in a clear narrative that contains a wealth of scientific material. The book does require an investment of attention, but the presentation is quite readable, and the story itself is fascinating.

From the Publisher:

"The story of one of the greatest adventures of twentiethcentury science, told by the central figure.... It is a great read for both scientist and layperson." Richard Muller, author of Nemesis: The Death Star

Sixtyfive million years ago, a comet or asteroid larger than Mt. Everest slammed into the Earth, causing an explosion equivalent to the detonation of a hundred million hydrogen bombs. Vaporized impactor and debris from the impact site were blasted out through the atmosphere, falling back to Earth all around the globe. Terrible environmental disasters ensued, including a giant tsunami, continentscale wildfires, darkness, and cold, followed by sweltering greenhouse heat. When conditions returned to normal, half the genera of plants and animals on Earth had perished.

This horrific story is now widely accepted as the solution to a great scientific murder mystery what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? In T. rex and the Crater of Doom, the story of the scientific detective work that went into solving the mystery is told by geologist Walter Alvarez, one of the four Berkeley scientists who discovered the first evidence for the giant impact. It is a saga of high adventure in remote parts of the world, of patient data collection, of lonely intellectual struggle, of long periods of frustration ended by sudden breakthroughs, of intense public debate, of friendships made or lost, of the exhilaration of discovery, and of delight as a fascinating story unfolded.

Controversial and widely attacked during the 1980s, the impact theory received confirmation from the discovery of the giant impact crater it predicted, buried deep beneath younger strata at the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The Chicxulub Crater was found by Mexican geologists in 1950 but remained almost unknown to scientists elsewhere until 1991, when it was recognized as the largest impact crater on this planet, dating precisely from the time of the great extinction sixtyfive million years ago. Geology and paleontology, sciences that long held that all changes in Earth history have been calm and gradual, have now been forced to recognize the critical role played by rare but devastating catastrophes like the impact that killed the dinosaurs.

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Alvarez, Walter
Published by Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey (1997)
ISBN 10: 0691131031 ISBN 13: 9780691131030
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Book Description Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1997. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. "The story that waited 65 million years to be told - how a giant impact killed the dinosaurs, and how the crater was discovered." 65 million years ago, a comet or asteroid slammed into earth with the power of a hundred million hydrogen bombs. Terrible environmental disasters followed, and when it was all over, half of the living species on earth had died out.This book is written by one of the 4 scientists who discovered the first evidence of the impact.xxii+185 pages, color illustrations, b/w photos, notes, index. Published @ $16.95/. Bookseller Inventory # 14477

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Alvarez, Walter
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Book Description Princeton University Press, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110691131031

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Walter Alvarez, Carl Zimmer (Foreword)
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Book Description Princeton University Press, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0691131031

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