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Le visage changeant de la Terre

The break-up of Pangaea and continental drift over the past 250 million years in ten steps
Original French edition: CGMW©, July 2001
English edition: CGMW/UNESCO©, July 2003
Booklet with 11 maps, texts, glossary and CD-Rom (PC-Mac) containing the digital images of the maps in different formats (bmp, tiff, pps)

French version. Also available in English and in Spanish on our catalogue.

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The Changing Face of the Earth is a synthesis of recent scientific research initially intended for specialists in the Earth Sciences. Now adapted to a wider audience, and particularly suited to high-school and undergraduate students, the 11 maps in Mollweide projection and accompanying texts describe in a clear and didactic style the wandering paths adopted by the continental blocks through time before forming the Earth's present-day geological pattern.

It takes as its starting point the breakup of the Pangaea (the original single continent) which led to the continental masses we have today. There and then began a cycle of the newly emerged plates breaking apart or moving closer together to join up once again. (This happened 1.5 billion years ago and then 750 million years ago.)

The introduction gives a clear explanation of this perpetual mobility and stresses that the Earth, unlike Mars or Venus, is a living planet that evacuates part of its internal energy to the surface. This energy causes the movements known as convection, which affect the earth’s mantle. These constant movements cause the lithosphere, or the earth’s crust, to divide up into plates, which in turn move. This process, known as plate tectonics, is one of the main causes of earthquakes and volcanic activity.

This epic adventure is split into ten sequences. Each is illustrated with a paleogeographic map, which shows the Earth at a certain time and allows the reader to easily situate the illustrations chronologically. The accompanying commentary retraces the principal geological events of the period and gives all the explanations a reader could need.

The eleventh and final map shows the geology of the Earth today and the ages of rock formations. This package is completed by an extremely useful glossary and an easy-to-load CD-ROM which features all the material in the book and includes a Powerpoint animation.

Bruno Vrielynck* and Philippe Bouysse**
* CNRS / Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris.
** Commission de la Carte Géologique du Monde (CGMW), Paris.

Translation by Rowena Stead and Patrick Skipwith

  • Length 21 cm
  • Width 27 cm
  • Weight 0.195 kg