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Mighty Bad Land: A Perilous Expedition to Antarctica Reveals Clues to an Eighth Continent (Hardcover)

Mighty Bad Land: A Perilous Expedition to Antarctica Reveals Clues to an Eighth Continent By Bruce Luyendyk, Edward J. Larson (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Bruce Luyendyk, Edward J. Larson (Foreword by)
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A tale of grit and real teamwork in the wilds of Antarctica when the hunger for knowledge reigns supreme.

Anything can happen in a pure wilderness experienced by few humans—a place where unseen menace waits everywhere. This story is an unembellished account of a scientist and his team exploring the last place on Earth. But, unlike most recent books on Antarctica, the reader becomes embedded with geologist Bruce Luyendyk’s team. They share the challenges, companionship, failures, bravery, and success brought to light from scientific research pursued in an unforgiving place, Marie Byrd Land, or Mighty Bad Land.

The geologists make surprising discoveries. Luyendyk realizes that vast submarine plateaus in the southwest Pacific are continental pieces that broke away from the Marie Byrd Land sector of Gondwana. He coined “Zealandia” to describe this newly recognized submerged continent. Only the tops of its mountains poke above sea level to host the nation of New Zealand. This stunning revelation of a submerged eighth continent promises economic and geopolitical consequences reverberating into the twenty-first century.

The story occurs in the 1990s and fills a gap in the timeline of Antarctic exploration between the Heroic Age, the age of military exploration, and before the modern era of science. Danger is exponentially greater, isolation a constant threat without GPS, satellite phones, and the internet. As the expedition’s leader, Luyendyk stands up to his demons that surface under the extreme duress of his experience, like nearly losing two team members.

About the Author

Bruce Luyendyk, Distinguished Professor Emeritus from the University of California, Santa Barbara, was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. On his first expedition to West Antarctica in 1989, Luyendyk and his geology team found evidence that a large submarine plateau, a fragment from the Gondwana breakup, comprises a sunken continent beneath New Zealand. This eighth continent was named Zealandia by Luyendyk.

In 2016, the US Board on Geographic Names honored the author by naming a summit in Antarctica Mount Luyendyk. Luyendyk is a graduate of San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego. His prior research in marine geophysics included exploration of deep-sea black smokers, i.e., hydrothermal vents, using the deep submersible ALVIN off western Mexico. For this, he and colleagues shared the Newcomb Cleveland Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Praise For…

“Bruce Luyendyk is a highly respected geologist, whose research took him on three expeditions to Antarctica’s Marie Byrd Land during the 1990s. He even has an Antarctic Mountain named after him. Mighty Bad Land tells the story of the first of these trips to one of the remotest places on earth in personal terms. You emerge with a true sense of the complex emotions and changing relationships that lay at the core of the field experiences. This is a vivid account of the challenges of Antarctic research which resulted in the discovery of a vanished continent: Zealandia. Luyendyk makes tough fieldwork come alive in this unique story.”
— Brian Fagan, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, UC Santa Barbara, and author of The Little Ice Age

“Mighty Bad Land is an unvarnished account of a scientist and his team exploring one of the most remote wild places left on Earth. Now retired, Luyendyk tells this story firsthand. Readers will learn from him what kind of people do science at the uttermost end of the earth and how they do it. They will follow his team, and see his personal challenges, on their first expedition. They’ll find the answer to the question: what does it take to prevail in Antarctica today? It takes the same sort of grit that it took 120 years ago from scientists traveling on the Discovery, Nimrod, and Terra Nova. Welcome aboard.”
— Historian Edward J. Larson, 1998 Pulitzer Prize for History recipient for Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion

"Explorers who enter the unknown not only learn about a world no other has ever seen before but they also discover themselves.”
— Dr. Robert D. Ballard, Deep-Sea Explorer, and author of Discovery of the Titanic (Exploring the Greatest of All Lost Ships), and Into the Deep

“With this intriguing narrative, Bruce Luyendyk has created a new genre, the Geothriller. Humans and their agendas are upstaged by rocks, glaciers, and continents, where all seek mischievous outcomes. Once you read this book, you’ll never look at a map the same way.”
— Shelly Lowenkopf, Emeritus Instructor, U SoCal and author of Struts and Frets

In this deeply personal account of his first Antarctic expedition, Luyendyk weaves a tale of adventure, peril, frustration, and awe...It is also a fascinating window into the interpersonal dynamics of a small, remote, field party and the complex mind of its author.”
— Edmund Stump, Professor Emeritus of Geology at Arizona State University, and author of Otherworldly Antarctica (in press)
Product Details
ISBN: 9781637588437
ISBN-10: 1637588437
Publisher: Permuted Press
Publication Date: May 30th, 2023
Pages: 320
Language: English