John S. Compton
photo of front cover of the book Human Origins by John Compton


film clip of John S. Compton in documentary "Voyage of the Continents" copyright La Compagnie des Taxi-Brousse

I am an earth scientist with a passion for writing about Earth – our understanding of its deep history and our relationship with it. Earth is big, it is ancient and it is dynamic. From an early age my parents instilled in me an appreciation for the natural world. I have enjoyed teaching university students over the past 30 years on many aspects of Earth, providing them with a deeper understanding, a broader and more inclusive, interconnected sense of our planet.  My writings attempt to convey the same to the general public. I believe that a greater appreciation for Earth not only enhances our experience of being a part of it, but makes us better stewards of our one and only home.


La Compagnie des Taxi-Brousse

My website serves as my ‘writer’s platform’ from which I introduce the popular science books I have written.  The key concepts and ideas in my books are further explored in my blogs, and links are provided for those wishing to order my books or access my scientific writings.  My hope is that you will find my site informative, thought-provoking and a pleasure to use.


Check out my short YouTube videos:


 Why is Table Mountain flat? (part I)

 Why is Table Mountain flat? (part II)

 Story of Table Mountain

 Cape Town City Bowl

 Will Table Mountain last forever?

My most recent book is Human Origins: How diet, climate and landscape shaped us, in which I provide a narrative of our deep (or ‘big’) history from the big bang to the present with projections into the future. The book emphasises the latest science on where, when and how our species evolved. Human Origins will be available from mid-November 2016 and excerpts from each of the ten chapters are available to check out under the Books tab.


My second book is The  Rocks & Mountains of Cape Town which provides a field guide to understanding the landscape, geological history and human interactions with Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain. My books emphasise the scientific basis for our understanding. They avoid scientific jargon, but do not ‘dumb down’ the science. Instead they try to explain the science in a clear and straightforward way accessible to the general, educated public. To this end, I have established Earthspun Books, which strives to publish beautiful books that serve to enlighten, stimulate and inform readers about Earth. I have also published my father's classic manual for geological mapping - Geology in the Field - now available as both a PDF and Amazon Kindle eBook, as well as a paperback book. If you wish to explore the books, simply click on the cover images. If you wish to purchase, there are a number of different formats available at affordable prices.

photograph of the front cover to book "The Rocks and mountains of Cape Town" by John Compton

© John S. Compton