Review by Sid Perkins
Earth’s history is a saga of change. The planet has evolved ever since it and its solar system companions coalesced from a massive interstellar cloud of gas and icy dust. What was once a barren lava planet is now a teeming orb where life occupies nearly every conceivable niche on and near its surface.
Cramming billions of years of geological evolution into a single book is a daunting challenge, but it’s one that Hazen, a geophysicist, has risen to splendidly. He chronicles the major events and eras in Earth’s history, from “The Big Thwack” (a collision with another planet thought to have formed the moon) to the greening of Earth’s landscape as life emerged from shallow waters worldwide.
And, Hazen says, the “Boring Billion,” an interval from 1.85 billion to 850 million years ago that many scientists have viewed as uneventful in te