172. "Four Billion Years and Counting" (2014)

'Four Billion Years and Counting'

In 2014, a project initiated and led by Geological Survey of Canada scientists culminated in the publication of a landmark book on Canada’s geology, in both English and French editions.

Four Billion Years and Counting: Canada’s Geological Heritage is intended for the non-specialist and highlights how Canada’s rocks, fossils, and landscapes evolved. It is an intriguing story of the formation and disintegration of ancient continents, the opening and closing of oceans, the uplift and erosion of mountain ranges, and the impact of massive ice sheets – the last of which largely sculpted our modern landscape.

To help readers follow the country’s dramatic geological evolution, the first four chapters explain basic concepts, including the rock cycle, plate tectonics, geological time, and fossils. Other chapters detail natural resources and environmental concerns.

The book is beautifully illustrated with colour photos, illustrations, and artistic recreations of times past. Its website makes much of this material available for download at no charge, and Canadian teachers are enthusiastically using these new resources in their classrooms. It is also receiving critical acclaim from book reviewers, and won the Association of Earth Science Editors’ Outstanding Publication Award for 2015.

Category: Publications

Decade: 2010s


Fensome, R., Williams, G., Achab, A., Clague, J., Corrigan, D., Monger, J., and Nowlan, G. (ed.), 2014. Four billion years and counting: Canada’s geological heritage; Nimbus Publishing and Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Tingley, A., 2015. Four Billion Years and Counting: Canada’s Geological Heritage. A Review; The Geological Society, Geoscientist Online. http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/Geoscientist/Books-Arts/Geoscientist-book-reviews-online/2015-Book-Reviews-Online/Four-Billion-Years-and-Counting-by-Fensome-et-al.

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