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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by the National Science Foundation, Award No. EAR-0533650; National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Award No. NNH06CE15B, TO #104; U.S. Department of Energy, Award No. DE-FG02-05ER15664; and U.S. Department of Interior / U.S. Geological Survey, Award No. 05HQGR0138. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-11717-3 (Book)

International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-11717-3 (Book)

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-11718-0 (PDF)

International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-11718-6 (PDF)

Library of Congress Catalog Number: 2008929776

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Cover: Selection of scales and disciplines relevant to Earth science. Top: Artist’s conception of an emerging solar system around the star Beta Pictoris. Courtesy of Lynette R. Cook and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Bottom right: Outcrop of Neoproterozoic (750-800 million years old) platform carbonates (left) and subjacent interbedded carbonaceous shales and stromatolitic carbonates (right) exposed by receding glacier, northeastern Spitsbergen. Courtesy of Andrew Knoll, Harvard University. Bottom middle: A spherical-global view (orthographic projection) of the western hemisphere 105 million years ago. Courtesy of Ronald Blakey, Northern Arizona University. Bottom left: Ground motion intensities for a simulated magnitude 7.7 earthquake on the San Andreas Fault in the Los Angeles area. Visualization courtesy of Amit Chourasia and Steve Cutchin, San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California, San Diego, based on data provided by Kim Olsen and colleagues, Southern California Earthquake Center. Back: Repeated images of the crystal structure of stishovite, a mantle mineral that can store water in Earth’s interior. Courtesy of Lars Stixrude, University of Michigan.

Copyright 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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