Turning to Stone: Discovering the Subtle Wisdom of Rocks (Hardcover)

Turning to Stone: Discovering the Subtle Wisdom of Rocks By Marcia Bjornerud Cover Image

Turning to Stone: Discovering the Subtle Wisdom of Rocks (Hardcover)


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Earth is vibrantly alive and full of wisdom for those who learn to listen.

Earth has been reinventing itself for more than four billion years, keeping a record of its experiments in the form of rocks. Yet most of us live our lives on the planet with no idea of its extraordinary history, unable to interpret the language of the rocks that surround us. Geologist Marcia Bjornerud believes that our lives can be enriched by understanding our heritage on this old and creative planet.

Contrary to their reputation, rocks have eventful lives–and they intersect with our own in surprising ways. In Turning to Stone, Bjornerud reveals how rocks are the hidden infrastructure that keep the planet functioning, from sandstone aquifers purifying the water we drink to basalt formations slowly regulating global climate.

Bjornerud’s life as a geologist has coincided with an extraordinary period of discovery in the geosciences. From an insular girlhood in rural Wisconsin, she found her way to an unlikely career studying mountains in remote parts of the world and witnessed the emergence of a new understanding of the Earth as an animate system of rock, air, water and life. We are all, most fundamentally, Earthlings and we can find existential meaning and enduring wisdom in stone.

Marcia Bjornerud is a professor of Environmental Studies and Geosciences at Lawrence University. She is a contributing writer to The New Yorker, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times and the author of Reading the Rocks, Timefulness, and Geopedia.
Product Details ISBN: 9781250875891
ISBN-10: 1250875897
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: August 13th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English

"Marcia Bjornerud masterfully weaves together the story of her own life and that of the Earth's long, often tumultuous history. “Turning to Stone” is a beautiful book -- at once intimate and sweeping, informative and moving."
— Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Under a White Sky

“This lyrical, wise book will change your relationship to the living Earth. Marcia Bjornerud offers a nuanced celebration of the languages of stone, from the subtle whispers of sand grains to the delightfully complex inner lives of mountains disclosed by eroding outcrops. Her careful attention not only reveals unexpected stories of stone, but teaches us what it means to be boundlessly curious and caring about our world and one another.”
— David George Haskell, author of Sounds Wild and Broken

"Marcia Bjornerud has done it again! With flowing grace, technical mastery, and poetic insight, she takes us on a geological odyssey across the vastness of deep time and to the literal ends of the Earth. Turning to Stone interweaves the profound testimony of ancient rocks—granite, basalt, sandstone, and flint—with her inspiring personal journey from curious youth to avid student, from struggling junior faculty member to master field geologist and revered educator. In the process, we share in the eventful, poignant life journey of a gifted scientist who has gained the expertise and nurtured the passion to share astonishing stories of Earth in a unique and timeless book."
— Robert Hazen, author of The Story of Earth