Did an enormous collision in the Asteroid Belt, orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter, bombard Earth with meteorites 470 million years ago? Astonishing new research suggests it did, and a revolutionary theory is emerging that this bombardment resulted in the single greatest increase in biological diversity on the planet since the origin of life.
Ted Nield is editor of Geoscientist magazine. A former chair of the Association of British Science Writers and goodwill ambassador for the UN International Year of Planet Earth, he is a fellow of the Geological Society and a member of the Meteoritical Society. His first book, Supercontinent, was published in 2007. He lives in London.
“Fascinating . . . rich in detail, informative, and entertaining . . . an insightful account.”
“Another scrupulously researched and cleverly assembled gem of explanation and revelation from Ted Nield, who is swiftly consolidating his reputation as the go-to guy for the unraveling of geology's most fascinating mysteries.”
“A fascinating account of how the arrival of extraterrestrial objects has influenced the history of life on Earth.”
—Richard Fortey, winner of the Lewis Thomas Prize for science writing and winner of the Royal Society's Michael Faraday Prize for the public communication of science
“Nobody writes better on matters geological than Ted Nield, and he has now broadened his scope to include impacts from space and the evolution of life on Earth. His gripping account of how the two seemingly disparate phenomena are related and how we may owe our existence to such impacts is a scientific page-turner of the best kind, rich with personal insights and anecdote as well as with sober (and not so sober) facts.”
—John Gribbin, author of In Search of Schrödinger's Cat
“Science for real at its very best.”
—David Bellamy, current or past president of the UK Conservation Foundation, Wildlife Trusts Partnership, National Association for Environmental Education, and the Galapagos Conservation Trust
“A witty and lively account not just of the perils of asteroids but also of their many mysteries. A entertaining story, delightfully told.”
—Gabrielle Walker, former climate change editor at Nature and former features editor of The New Scientist
“A splendid book. Nield recounts the dramatic and often amusing story of our encounters with the ‘thunderstones' but goes far beyond this. There is much fascinating science involved in the discovery of where in our solar system meteorites come from and what set them on a collision course with Earth throughout its history.”
—Aubrey Manning, professor emeritus of natural history at Edinburgh University, president of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, and winner of the Zoological Society of London Silver Medal for public understanding of science
A riveting examination of how meteorites may have helped create life on Earth