A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice by William E. Glassley

A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice by William E. Glassley
Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

Greenland, one of the last truly wild places, contains a treasure trove of information on Earth’s early history embedded in its pristine landscape. Over numerous seasons, William E. Glassley and two fellow geologists traveled there to collect samples and observe rock formations for evidence to prove a contested theory that plate tectonics, the movement of Earth’s crust over its molten core, is a much more ancient process than some believed. As their research drove the scientists ever farther into regions barely explored by humans for millennia―if ever―Glassley encountered wondrous creatures and natural phenomena that gave him unexpected insight into the origins of myth, the virtues and boundaries of science, and the importance of seeking the wilderness within.

An invitation to experience a breathtaking place and the fascinating science behind its creation, A Wilder Time is nature writing at its best.

A Wilder Time follows a small group of geologists to Greenland for surveys. William E. Glassley presents a lyrical description of his adventure into the frigid peacefulness of this world. It is so quiet, so cold, and so beautiful.

Glassley discusses what he sees from the ice and snow to the animal and plant life. One would not think that this book was written by a scientist though. It is not an overly technical report of events and sights but rather comes across as though Glassley might be a poet. The details are rich and smooth and flow beautifully.

As an added interest, he describes the mundane details of his day, which do not present as boring. Even the day-to-day details that we take for granted—like bathing—are an adventure in this setting, and we do learn a bit of science.

Being in such an immense place, isolated, gives this author plenty of time to contemplate life and the planet. He comes up with some profound thoughts. This is an interesting little book that is fun to read.

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