Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Book Review : The Case of the Runaway Continents

Title : The Case of the Runaway Continents
Author : Geeta Dharmarajan
Illustrator : Joyita Banerjee
Publisher : Katha
ISBN : 978-93-82454-15-1

An information packed book 'The Case of the Runaway Continents' is a new offering of Katha books. It is about the changes that our Earth is undergoing unrelentingly, every single moment and how it reached to the state where we see it now. It tries to explain the reason behind some of the observed facts in the nature and on our earth.

Coral Reefs which are found mostly in the Southern hemisphere have their remains in Northern hemisphere as well. Some of the animals that are found in South America and in Africa share common ancestors. Rock samples taken from different coastlines are found to belong to the same original rock. What connect these things together which physically appear to be so far away from each other? The questions like these have intrigued geologists and historians for ages. After understanding the trend that the surface of our earth shows, scientists have come up with the logical explanation that initially all the continents formed a single big landmass. With time this large land mass broke off giving rise to different continents which drifted apart from each other.

It is understood that Earth's continental crust is constantly under change and it follows a cyclical timeline which is called the supercontinent cycle. Though a cycle takes 350 to 500 million years to complete, the continents are continuously in the process of merging or breaking up.

The author discusses many other concepts related to our planet Earth and its surface, ranging from tectnoic plates, how they float on the molten magma, what causes earthquakes, how some of the mountains are formed, what are trenches, how is the ocean floor increasing, is Earth growing in size to accommodate new land formations, the ring of fire and much more. It is interesting to read how India got detached from one landmass and merged with another and how Himalayas got formed due to this collision.

'The Case of the Runaway Continents' is a comprehensive introduction to our planet Earth, its surface, hot secrets buried in its womb and the perpetual process of change that Earth keeps experiencing. There is a high chance that readers would get motivated to read more on these concepts which are  briefly touched in the book. The first impression that one gets from the cover page of the book is that this book should be for young readers, however, some of the concepts are a little complex for that age group. The book is appropriate for readers of age 11+ years. At a few places, the illustrations and text show some disconnect. A couple of images are too detailed which are not backed by equally detailed description.  

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