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How the Earth Works

Written by: The Great Courses
Length: 24 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

How the Earth Works takes you on an astonishing journey through time and space. In 48 lectures, you will look at what went into making our planet - from the big bang, to the formation of the solar system, to the subsequent evolution of Earth. 

You will travel to the center of our planet and out again, charting the geologic forces that churn beneath our feet to push the continents and seafloor around like froth on the surface of soup. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis are byproducts of our planet’s ceaseless activity, and you will focus on specific examples of each to learn why and when they occur. Volcanic activity has produced the atmosphere as a side effect, and you will learn how this sea of air functions at the global scale. Earth’s surface is mostly water, and you will explore the cycling of this vital substance throughout the planet, along with its role in climate, erosion, plate tectonics, and biology. 

Not only are humans at the mercy of our planet’s natural forces, but we ourselves have also become agents of change. We are altering the Earth’s land, water, and air faster than any other geologic process. This will be another theme of your journey: how humans have transformed watersheds, leveled mountains, changed the balance of gases in the atmosphere, and caused the extinction of enough species to hasten the end of the 65-million-year-old Cenozoic era. It is vitally important that we understand the nature of our geologic powers if we are to have any hope of controlling them. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2008 The Great Courses (P)2008 The Teaching Company, LLC

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  • Doug B.
  • 2019-05-23

Excellent course

Professor Wysession presented this course in a manner that made me feel as if someone was talking to me rather than lecturing to me. I continually wondered how he seemed to effortlessly pull in-depth knowledge from his head because he certainly didn’t seem to be reading his presentation.
He used simple, practical demonstrations to help the listener understand how the earth works. Although these demonstrations must have been videoed, his descriptions were so vivid I could picture them in my mind.
He enthusiastically gave a thorough history of the earth from the beginning until now and even into the future. He showed no political bias, didn’t dwell on controversies about his subject, and displayed no annoyances which often arise from listening to one lecturer for twenty four hours.
I will certainly listen to the series again to better digest many of the points I surely missed the first time.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • 2019-05-18

Superb Course

Dr Wysession knows how to teach and keep things interesting. His depth of knowledge is impressive and he ties things together superbly. The best of 10 courses I listened to.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Audy Meadow Davison LMT
  • 2019-07-02

This changes how it feels to live on Earth<br />

There is so much mind bending, time expanding, Earth changing exploration. I look at mountains, rocks, sea shores, rainstorms, and this continent differently now. Living on this changing land seems more temporary
and much more fragile somehow. But also more amazing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Diane Schmitt
  • 2019-05-31

Fantastic!!!

This course is the most amazing I’ve listened to yet and that’s saying something!! Totally interesting from beginning to end. I just finished and am going to start it over. Fantastic!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary and Steve
  • 2019-07-22

Very good course

Dense at the beginning, but very interesting. Second half really applies what you learned. Highly recommended.

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  • Kirk Barrett
  • Montclair, New Jersey, USA
  • 2019-07-09

a tour destination force!

this course covers more than u can ever remember but it's all fascinating. incredible breadth of knowledge demonstrated.