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I read this book in a style I will call skim and read highlights underlining was provided by my husband who had read carefully I enjoyed this approach for this type book rather than just not exploring it The book was interesting but written in a textbook style with technicalities beyond me even so I learned some things and the activity was worthwhile. In depth look at several mass extinctions in the Permian and Triassic, all relating to massive CO2 halogen and hydrogen sulfide release from volcanism and basalt floods And the good news the breakup of Pangea is hopefully protective against future events. 260 million years ago, life on Earth suffered several waves of catastrophic extinctions, with the worst extinction wiping out over 90% of species on the planet In this book, Professor Wignall investigates the worst 80 million years in Earth s history, a time marked by two mass extinctions the end Permian and the Triassic and four lesser crises and sheds light on the fateful role the supercontinent of Pangea might have played in causing these global catastrophes These global catastrophes all have two factors in common 1 they occurred when the world s continents were united into the single continent of Pangea and 2 they coincided with gigantic volcanic eruptions The period covered in this book begins in the middle of the Permian Period, spans the entire Triassic, and finishes in the Early Jurassic This book examines what happened during the Permo Jurassic extinctions of Pangea, evaluate what may have caused these catastrophes specifically, to ask, how volcanism could have done it , and finally to understand whether the resilience of the biosphere has changed in 260 million years or whether it has just become luckier thanks to continental separation i.e are supercontinents bad for life.Wignall examines each of the extinction events in chronological order, with numerous illustrations diagrams as necessary to help clarify the text One complaint other reviewers have written about is the scientific jargon used in this book, but I have no idea how the author was supposed to make a strong argument for his hypothesis without the relevant terminology However, I did not consider the use of scientific terms to be excessive or complicated the author does not go into excruciating chemical detail he states what happens and why in understandable terms This is primarily a book about a time when Earth was very different, a time of supercontinents, super oceans, and super eruptions, and above all, an age of mass extinctions I found the writing to be clear and logical and the book to be thoroughly enjoyable and informative. Between 260 mya and 180 mya, life on earth experienced a succession of mass extinctions unrivaled by any other time before or since Because the extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs is the one that receives all the attention, many are unaware that there had been earlier, devastating exterminations This book focuses on what happened during those 80 million years when, during the worst of it, up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial species became extinct.Recommended for fans of science and natural history writing Some prior knowledge of fossils and geologic time will make following along easier a lot of chemistry, geology, paleontology and phylogenic terms are used fairly casually. Life on collision course with forces of nature About 251 million years ago, life on planet earth was almost extinct Most species were lost in a catastrophic event along with the loss of habitats for of most land and marine creatures It took almost 100 million years for life to return to pre existing level, and the biodiversity returned in the form of diverse marine creatures, insects, dinosaurs, mammals and plants In this process, animals and plants took various shapes, sizes and habitats In this book, University of Leeds professor, Paul Wignall examines the environment of Pangea when the planet was fused into one single super continent Atmospheric and geological conditions were vastly different with few coastline habitats, limited rainfall, and the deeper part of the land uninhabitable Huge volcanic eruptions resulted in catastrophic events that filled the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and covered the land with lava Changes in atmospheric temperatures, acidification of the ocean and depletion of life supporting oxygen made the planet very hostile for life Eventually a slow and steady separation of the single land mass into five continents changed the planet s atmosphere and created diverse environment Species evolved in the reformed planet with a tremendous increase in diversity.Recent studies have suggested that the asteroid that hit Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago also intensified volcanic eruptions in the Deccan Plateau of India Volcanic eruptions became twice as intense, throwing out a deadly cocktail of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide The shockwaves produced at this time shook up earth and its volcanic plumbing systems around the world, creating larger magma chambers that spewed out material This combined effect is now believed to be responsible for wiping out dinosaurs Sir Charles Lyell was the first geologist to propose, in the first half of the nineteenth century, that earth was formed after cataclysmic events on giant scale in the distant past He observed that the earth was shaped by slow moving forces still in operation today, but acting over for a very long period of time This idea still holds good and it was quite bold for his time when it was believed in the idea of abrupt planetary changes that conforms to beliefs of the Book of Genesis.While geological and paleontological studies have been helpful to understand the formation of a habitable planet such as earth, we are still a long way to account for all factors that shaped our world This is especially critical when NASA is investigating life on exoplanets with vigor and enthusiasm Professor Wignall s seminal work in this area is fascinating and should encourage readers to get interested in this field and learn about the ancient history of our planet. 75% of this book was over my head, but I love the descriptions of what life was like on Pangea. Life on collision course with forces of nature About 251 million years ago, life on planet earth was almost extinct Most species were lost in a catastrophic event along with the loss of habitats for of most land and marine creatures It took almost 100 million years for life to return to pre existing level, and the biodiversity returned in the form of diverse marine creatures, insects, dinosaurs, mammals and plants In this process, animals and plants took various shapes, sizes and habitats In this book, University of Leeds professor, Paul Wignall examines the environment of Pangea when the planet was fused into one single super continent Atmospheric and geological conditions were vastly different with few coastline habitats, limited rainfall, and the deeper part of the land uninhabitable Huge volcanic eruptions resulted in catastrophic events that filled the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and covered the land with lava Changes in atmospheric temperatures, acidification of the ocean and depletion of life supporting oxygen made the planet very hostile for life Eventually a slow and steady separation of the single land mass into five continents changed the planet s atmosphere and created diverse environment Species evolved in the reformed planet with a tremendous increase in diversity.Recent studies have suggested that the asteroid that hit Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago also intensified volcanic eruptions in the Deccan Plateau of India Volcanic eruptions became twice as intense, throwing out a deadly cocktail of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide The shockwaves produced at this time shook up earth and its volcanic plumbing systems around the world, creating larger magma chambers that spewed out material This combined effect is now believed to be responsible for wiping out dinosaurs Sir Charles Lyell was the first geologist to propose, in the first half of the nineteenth century, that earth was formed after cataclysmic events on giant scale in the distant past He observed that the earth was shaped by slow moving forces still in operation today, but acting over for a very long period of time This idea still holds good and it was quite bold for his time when it was believed in the idea of abrupt planetary changes that conforms to beliefs of the Book of Genesis.While geological and paleontological studies have been helpful to understand the formation of a habitable planet such as earth, we are still a long way to account for all factors that shaped our world This is especially critical when NASA is investigating life on exoplanets with vigor and enthusiasm Professor Wignall s seminal work in this area is fascinating and should encourage readers to get interested in this field and learn about the ancient history of our planet. I enjoyed this book and found it interesting and informative.Two things I did note, howeverFirstly, better editing was badly needed Typos and missing words pervaded the text just as one example, fared , as in ammonoids fared badly during the period of oceanic anoxia , was consistently misspelled as faired The writing falls well short of the best science writing in any case, but corrective editing could have helped.This study disagrees with earlier work on the topic in several areas, notably on the question of whether the end Permian extinction and similar events featured atmospheric as opposed to oceanic anoxia Now, I have no opinion on these topics one way or another I m purely an interested amateur, and my only concern is to try and learn the facts Nor do I have a problem with this book presenting hypotheses that disagree with those of earlier studies that s how science works But I thought it was awfully strange, maybe even passive aggressive, that the works being disagreed with are never cited The scholars who produced it are never named in context, being referred to obliquely as some That seemed weird to me I m curious to look at the professional review literature to see what others thought.Despite all this, an interesting addition to the scholarship of mass extinction. Received via NetGalley and Princeton University Press in exchange for an completely unbiased review. Also posted on Silk SerifThe Worth of Times is a book that looks to be fairly straightforward on the surface, but is actually semi complex.Wignall s attempt to alert readers to our limited understanding of the global climate system comes across as part textbook and part climate debate.Wignall s novel describes how and why cataclysms caused mass extinctions in pre historic time He explains how scientists use technology and ancient clues to solve the riddles surrounding mass extinctions He mainly describes the role of volcanic activities in mass extinction events The novel attempts to foster further understanding as to why LIPs large igneous provinces , which can develop into volcanic provinces, were so detrimental to life before Pangaea broke into smaller land masses.The Worst of Times is not a book for the uninitiated Although the description looks to be written for the masses, the content often became bogged down in detail and scientific jargon I found myself looking up certain Latin named species to understand just what creature Wignall was describing I also came across words I d never seen before due to the highly technical nature of the text Fortunately, Wignall rises above this and attempts to fill the reader in on some of these details.Prior to reading this title I was unaware of how completely uninformed I was about ancient geology, climate studies and their role in modern science I had always assumed that studies of extinction level events and climatic shifts were interesting but not at all relevant to today s world The Worst of Times completely changed that perception by causing me to understand the interlinked relationship between studying ancient climatic change and developing a deeper understanding of today s planetary climate system.I have read very few articles that convey a positive prognosis for a post global warming world and it is with this background that I found this novel to be refreshing The author provides plenty of evidence affirming the resiliency of life and the adaptability of Earth s climatic system which is a welcome change to the mass published panic enabling literature If Wingall s research is correct, it could mean we do not understand the long term effect of global warming or the strength of Earth s self correcting abilities The novel was not enough to change my perception of global warming, but it did offer some interesting food for thought.I found this title to be dense, often quite difficult to wade through but filled with wisdom I would not suggest this book if you re looking for a light, fun read with very simple concepts I still do not understand half of what I read I can only say that what looked like a novel akin to a Natural Geographic documentary actually became an academic study of mass extinction agents and climate change effects.This book would appeal to readers who enjoy science, scientific research, extinction events, ancient history and extremely educational novels I would recommend readers be prepared for a academic feeling novel as this is not part of the popular science trend. `Ebook ☛ The Worst of Times ⇱ Two Hundred And Sixty Million Years Ago, Life On Earth Suffered Wave After Wave Of Cataclysmic Extinctions, With The Worst The End Permian Extinction Wiping Out Nearly Every Species On The Planet The Worst Of Times Delves Into The Mystery Behind These Extinctions And Sheds Light On The Fateful Role The Primeval Supercontinent, Known As Pangea, May Have Played In Causing These Global CatastrophesDrawing On The Latest Discoveries As Well As His Own Firsthand Experiences Conducting Field Expeditions To Remote Corners Of The World, Paul Wignall Reveals What Scientists Are Only Now Beginning To Understand About The Most Prolonged And Calamitous Period Of Environmental Crisis In Earth S History He Describes How A Series Of Unprecedented Extinction Events Swept Across The Planet In A Span Of Eighty Million Years, Rapidly Killing Marine And Terrestrial Life On A Scale Devastating Than The Dinosaur Extinctions That Would Come Later Wignall Shows How These Extinctions Some Of Which Have Only Recently Been Discovered All Coincided With Gigantic Volcanic Eruptions Of Basalt Lavas That Occurred When The World S Landmasses Were United Into A Single Vast ExpanseUnraveling One Of The Great Enigmas Of Ancient Earth, The Worst Of Times Also Explains How The Splitting Apart Of Pangea Into The Continents We Know Today Ushered In A New Age Of Vibrant And Resilient Life On Our Planet