The biggest subject on Earth

It really is the biggest subject on Earth - the story of a whole planet, what it’s made of, how it works, how it developed over 4.6 billion years, how it supports (and sometimes endangers) us – and how its many stories have been discovered (sometimes in the most unlikely ways, by the most unlikely of people).

All of this, and more, is crammed between the slim covers of Geology: A Very Short Introduction, just published by Oxford University Press, and written by Jan Zalasiewicz, Professor of Palaeobiology at the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment of the University of Leicester.

"It really is the hidden subject, increasingly rarely taught at school, and often associated in people’s minds with dusty drawers full of old rock and mineral collections," says Professor Zalasiewicz, "but it really is the most dynamic and diverse of subjects, now reaching into the future as well as the past, and expanding its territory into distant planets. Those who discover geology often become enthusiasts for life, not least as new discoveries can be made during a simple walk in the countryside.

"This brief, non-technical introduction is written for students at all levels, teachers – and in general for all those curious to know more about the study of the planet they live on. Hopefully it will encourage people to see the world in a new light."