Henrik Svensen

A planet in crisis. Travelling through climatic changes and mass extinctions of the past

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The Earth 252 million years ago: a planet in crisis. Huge volcanic eruptions. Animals and plants dies, a destroyed ozone layer and a sour and lifeless sea. That’s how it was. On the Earth. Before us. But how do we know?

Henrik Svensen collects stones, studies them in a microscope looking for something that can solve one of the biggest questions in science today: why did 95 percent of life on Earth at that time, disappear during the greatest mass extinction?

In his search for answers, Svensen meets academic celebrities’ and academic enemies, unpredictable Russians, South African farmers and an eager double. The events of the past are untangled, millions of years compressed into something tangible, something that could provide answers to what can happen with a planet that stands on the threshold of the Anthropocene, our own age.

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Henrik Svensen (b. 1970) has a PhD in Geology from the University of Oslo (2000), followed by studies in History of ideas. He is as professor in geology at the University of Oslo, doing research and writing popular science books on dramatic events in the history of the earth.