A Scientific Exploration into the Heart of our Planet
Our planet appears tranquil from outer space. And yet the arcs of volcanoes, the earthquake zones and the auroral glow rippling above our heads are testimony to something remarkable happening inside.
For thousands of years the subterranean world was alien, perhaps even the gateway to Hell itself, it was explained in legend and myth. Only in recent times has the brave new science of seismology emerged. One hundred and fifty years after the extraordinary imaginative feat of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, David Whitehouse embarks on a voyage of scientific discovery into the heart of our world.
Whitehouse’s book encompasses the history of our planet and the latest findings about its inner core. We watch as supercomputers convert signals from the ground into three-dimensional scans of subterranean continents, visit laboratories where scientists attempt to reproduce the intense conditions at the centre of the Earth, travel down the throat of a volcano, look into the deepest hole ever drilled.
Today’s scientists are uncovering a bizarre world beneath our feet, far stranger than anyone had ever imagined. Inside the Earth is a place where rock acts like plastic dragging the continents apart and then forcing them together raising giant mountain ranges. Storms rage within a sea of white-hot metal in the outer core, vast plumes of rock rise from the Earth’s core spawning giant volcanoes, giant slabs from the surface sink like enormous battleships, and iron crystals the size of cities grow in our planet’s heart of iron which is almost the size of the Moon. Motions within the molten core – as hot as the surface of the Sun – produce a magnetic field that shelters every living thing above.
We know more about the distant planets and stars than we do about the centre of the Earth. It is time for a modern retelling of Verne’s famous tale, this time with the benefit of the science we have done in the intervening years. This book comes at the right time because recent discoveries and new equipment are revealing a new and even stranger world beneath our feet. The Earth has been a busy place since it was formed.
‘Whitehouse takes readers on a richly rewarding journey through space and time in this scientific travelogue.’ Kirkus Reviews
‘A tour-de-force, utterly compelling. Whitehouse is terrific.’ The Financial Times
‘Readable and wide-ranging… most adept at mixing the history of Earth science with comments by current researchers.’ Nature
‘Outstanding.’ The Daily Telegraph
‘A treasure-trove.’ New Scientist
‘This is a fascinating investigation of geologic history.’ Publishers Weekly
‘A great introduction to the mysteries of Earth’s depths.’ Science News
‘Whitehouse writes on all subjects with confidence and clarity.’ The Bookseller
‘An outstanding television and radio storyteller.’ BBC News
‘As a science communicator he is in a class of his own.’ Arthur C. Clarke Awards
‘He unveils the universe and unweaves the rainbow.’ Netmedia Online Awards
‘The author’s brimming passion for his subject is obvious.’ The Guardian
‘David writes like an angel.’ Glaxo Awards
‘Dr Science. He can’t be stumped.’ BBC Radio 4
‘His knowledge of space and astronomy is remarkable.’ Sky News
- Weidenfeld & Nicholson/ Orion UK (WEL)
- Pegasus Books USA
- Humanitas Romania
- Tsukiji Shokan Japan
Material: finished copies (255pp)