Home About News Authors FAQ Search Contact
Richard H. Smith

TED NIELD holds a doctorate in geology and works for the Geological Society of London as editor of the monthly magazine Geoscientist. A former chair of the Association of British Science Writers, he was a goodwill ambassador for the UN International Year of Planet Earth in 2008. He is a fellow of the Geological Society and a member of the Meteoritical Society. His first book, SUPERCONTINENT: Ten Billion Years in the Life of Our Planet, was published in 2007 (Granta/Harvard University Press). He lives in London.

Featured titles



A Journey Through Britain’s Lost Landscape


A poetic remembrance of forgotten time and lost perspectives – Iain Finlayson, THE TIMES


Geology is a noble instrument of inquiry and conviction…. In the hands of Ted Nield it edges its way towards art – Jan Morris, LITERARY REVIEW


Brilliantly explores [how] much of the character and history of our country is written in the rocks – Richard Fortey, author of LIFE and THE EARTH


This is an entirely novel, and powerfully illuminating, look at the world literally below our feet and in front of our eyes. Read it and your vision will improve – Bill McKibben, author of THE END OF NATURE and OIL AND HONEY

Not so very long ago, our roads, our buildings, our gravestones and our monuments were built from local rock, our cities were powered by coal from Welsh mines, and our lamps were lit with paraffin from Scottish shale. At the height of the empire, British stone travelled across the world; to India and China, Sri Lanka and Argentina, Singapore and South Africa. Across the British Isles were mines, quarries, slag heaps and brick pits, where the earth was dug up and made visible.


Today we live among the remnants of these times – our older cities are built from Bath limestone, or Aberdeen granite – but for the most part our mines are gone, our buildings are no longer local, and the flow of stone now travels from east to west.


Spurred on by the erasure of history and industry, Ted Nield journeys across this buried landscape, from the small Welsh village where his mining ancestors were born and are buried, to Swansea, Aberdeen, East Lothian, Surrey and Dorset. Delving into the history and geology of this forgotten Britain, and into his ancestors' connection with the rocks of Britain, Nield unearths the raw veins of coal, stone, oil, rock and clay that make up the country beneath our feet, illuminating the ties between earth and place, and what the loss of kinship between past and present means for Britain, and the rest of the world today.


Publisher: Granta

Publication: 1 May 2014

Length: 288 pages


All rights available excluding:

World English Language (Granta)


Or, Why We Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Meteorite


Opens a window on the night sky and the marvels that streak across it – GUARDIAN


It is hard not to be engaged by this richly explored and expertly explained subject – FINANCIAL TIMES


Nield is a geologist with a sense of history and humour – THE TIMES 


Nield has a gift for bringing the science alive… I, for one, am now convinced to love the meteorite! – BBC FOCUS


A detective story told with great wit. Incoming! should make a real impact – NEWS OF THE WORLD

An introduction to the science and history of the falling sky that challenges the orthodox view that meteorite strikes are always bad news for life on Earth.


Astonishing new research suggests that 470 million years ago, a stupendous collision in the Asteroid Belt (whose debris is still falling today) bombarded the Earth with meteorites of all sizes. A revolutionary idea is emerging that the resulting ecological disturbance may have been responsible for the single greatest increase in biological diversity since the origin of complex life – the previously unexplained Great Ordovician Biodiversity Event. 


Introducing a wealth of extraordinary new research and the fascinating characters behind it, Ted Nield challenges the orthodox view that meteorite strikes are always bad news for life on Earth. He argues that one of the most widely known scientific theories – that dinosaurs were wiped out by a strike 65 million years ago – isn’t the whole picture, and that the causes of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (of which the dinosaurs’ demise was a part) were much more varied and complex.


Meteorites have been the stuff of legend throughout human history, interpreted as omens of doom or objects of power. But only in the eighteenth century, when the study of falling space debris became a science, were meteorites used to unlock the mysteries of our Universe. INCOMING! traces the history of meteorites from the first recorded strike to the video recordings made routinely today, showing how our interpretations have varied according to the age in which the meteorites fell, and how meteorite impacts were given fresh urgency with the advent of the atom bomb.

Publisher: Granta (UK)/Lyons Press (US)*

Publication: 6 January 2011/18 October 2011

Length: 272 pages 


All rights available excluding:

 UK & Commonwealth, US


*Published in the US as THE FALLEN SKY