Dancing Elephants and Floating Continents - The Story of Canada Beneath Your Feet
Reviewed: August 8, 2005
By: John Wilson
Publisher: Key Porter Books
48 pages, $24.95
The world is not as solid as we would like
to think. The Dancing Elephants of this book's title have been proving that
for years. They are 25 ton trucks that are used to pound the earth with huge
hammers and create vibrations for seismic recordings. Generally used by mineral
exploration companies, they have also been used by Lithoprobe to take "snapshots
of the world far beneath our feet."
Nine hundred scientists and nineteen years
later, Lithoprobe has given us a lot of information about what's down there.
Wilson has chosen to guide us through this by treating the timeline for all
the events as a normal school day, moving backwards from the bell at the end
of the day.
For instance, one second ago (or 1700 AD)
there was a major earthquake off Vancouver Island that did damage similar
to last December's Indian Ocean quake. Wilson says we're overdue for another
one like that.
The Elephants have shown that the west coast
of the country, right up into the Yukon, is made up of 21 different land masses
that used to be islands. Over a period of tens of millions of years - the
last eight minutes of our imaginary school day - they have been absorbed by
the continent as it moved west.
Wilson does more than describe his subjects.
There are lots of pictures and illustrations, as well as do-it-yourself geological
movements to help bring the subject to life. In addition there is a page of
website references for those who want to take things further.
While this book is published as children's
nonfiction, and written for that age group, it's a good primer on the subject