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Blue heaven Great Waters An Atlantic Passage Deborah Cramer 442pp Norton Adventures in Ocean Exploration Robert D Ballard 288pp National Geographic Historical Atlas of the North Pacific Ocean Derek Hayes 224pp British Museum Encyclopedia of Underwater and Marine Archaeology ed James Delgado 493pp British Museum If all Earths history were crammed into a single day calculates Deborah Cramer as she rocks in the cradle of the deep aboard a research vessel the Atlantic oceans entire existence would last only 10 minutes of it And the Atlantic has just a few million years left before its waters drain and it joins the long-gone primordial seas of Lapetus and Tethys As Earths tectonic plates rearrange continents into new configurations ripping Africa apart along the Rift Valley rending America underneath Yellowstones geysers the Atlantics compacted shells of minute creatures will be hoist aloft as limestone uplands and minerals excreted from the planets hot core through deep-trench hydrothermic vents will enseam new mountains with ore Those predictions in the chapter about water-based catastrophes notably the trillion tons of seafloor methane that suddenly bubbled up to warm Earth crucially encouraging post-dinosaur-era mammals should read awesomely But Cramers long wet view lulls and not just because of her gently lapping prose I happen to see the watery part of the world - two-thirds of its surface - as do the authors of these tomes as did Ishmael the narrator of Moby-Dick as a way of driving off the spleen When it is damp and drizzly in my soul I quietly take to the ship Any and all aquatic facts can restore a proper perspective I dont mean that they easily cheer more that they expand the horizon Cramer explains that the sea evaporation cloud rain river sea cycle constantly recycles the same four-billion-year-old water supply Not much new water about She describes the recent
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