How old is the Earth? Is it really likely to be hit by a meteorite? What can Antarctic ice cores and Milankovitch cycles tell us about global warming? What is a Milankovitch cycle anyway? Where would you find black smokers? Are they ever likely to be useful? What causes tornadoes? Should youworry if you live near a transform plate boundary? What is the difference between a tidal wave and a tsunami? Does it matter? Can rocks affect your health? Answers to these and many similar questions will be found in the Oxford Companion to the Earth. The aim of the Companion is to provide conciseand readable accounts of the main phenomena and processes relating to the Earth. Like the other Oxford Companions, it is aimed at a wide readership, and will appeal both to professional Earth scientists seeking an accessible digest of topics outside their own areas of specialization, as well as tothe general reader wishing an approachable reference to our planet and the environment. For all these readers, and many more, the Companion will not only provide a valuable source of reference but also fascinating and informative browsing. The scope of the Companion is wide: it is concerned withthe entire planetary environment on which all living things (ourselves included) depend: the atmosphere and the oceans as well as the solid Earth. And since we can no longer consider the Earth in isolation, information about other parts of the Solar System also finds a place here. Included in theCompanion: Over 900 entries, from acid rain to zoogeomorphology, and over 200 expert contributors Complete coverage of the Earth sciences, including geology, geophysics, geochemistry, geodesy, geomorphology, soil science, glaciology, oceanography, climatology, meteorology, enviromental and resourcedevelopment, volcanology, and the history of the Earth sciences Over 800 pages with 600 illustrations and 16 pages of full colour plates Useful appendices, including detailed index, geological timescale, facts and figures about the Earth and its near neighbours, table of chemical elements. TheCompanion is a unique and important reference source which will be invaluable to anyone with an interest in the Earth, its history, formation, and environment.