Environmental historian Philip L. Fradkin offers a vivid history of earthquakes and an eloquent guide to the San Andreas Fault, the seismic scar that bisects the Golden State's spectacular scenery. The author includes dramatic stories of legendary earthquakes elsewhere: in New York, New England, the central Mississippi River Valley, Europe, and the Far East. Combining human and natural dramas, he places the reader at the epicenter of the most invisible, unpredictable, and feared of the earth's violent phenomena. On the eve of the millennium, as cyberspace crackles with apocalyptic visions, Fradkin reaches beyond the earthshaking moment to examine the mythology, culture, social implications, politics, and science of earthquakes.
America has more than 250,000 rivers, coursing over more than 3 million miles, connecting the disparate regions of the United States. On a map they can look like the veins, arteries, and capillaries of a continent-wide circulatory system, and in a way they are. Over the course of this nation's history rivers have served as integral trade routes, borders, passageways, sewers, and sinks. Over the years, based on our shifting needs and values, we have harnessed their power with waterwheels and dams, straightened them for ships, drained them with irrigation canals, set them on fire, and even attempted to restore them.
In this fresh and powerful work of environmental history, Martin Doyle tells the epic story of America and its rivers, from the U.S. Constitution's roots in interstate river navigation, the origins of the Army Corps of Engineers, the discovery of gold in 1848, and the construction of the Hoover Dam and the TVA during the New Deal, to the failure of the levees in Hurricane Katrina and the water wars in the west. Along the way, he explores how rivers have often been the source of arguments at the heart of the American experiment--over federalism, sovereignty and property rights, taxation, regulation, conservation, and development.
Through his encounters with experts all over the country--a Mississippi River tugboat captain, an Erie Canal lock operator, a dendrochronologist who can predict the future based on the story trees tell about the past, a western rancher fighting for water rights--Doyle reveals the central role rivers have played in American history--and how vital they are to its future.
Despite growing evidence of geothermic activity under America's first and foremost national park, it took geologists a long time to realize that there was actually a volcano beneath Yellowstone. And then, why couldn't they find the caldera or crater? Because, as an aerial photograph finally revealed, the caldera is 45 miles wide, encompassing all of Yellowstone. What will happen, in human terms, when it erupts?
Greg Breining explores the shocking answer to this question and others in a scientific yet accessible look at the enormous natural disaster brewing beneath the surface of the United States. Yellowstone is one of the world's five "super volcanoes." When it erupts, much of the nation will be hit hard.
Though historically Yellowstone has erupted about every 600,000 years, it has not done so for 630,000, meaning it is 30,000 years overdue. Starting with a scenario of what will happen when Yellowstone blows, this fascinating study describes how volcanoes function and includes a timeline of famous volcanic eruptions throughout history.
Beach stones, abundant and free for the taking, are objects of contemplation, beauty, and sentiment. They come in many colours, shapes and patterns, are fun to collect and even have sensuous qualities. This book helps you understand the life of beach stones. It also brings us the stories of such stones.
In "Mysteries of Terra Firma," James Lawrence Powell tells an engrossing three-part tale of how we came to understand the ground on which we walk, and how that ground holds the key to the greatest secrets of deep space and time. Naming his profound stories Time, Drift, and Chance, he tells of the three twentieth-century revolutions in thought that created the amazing science of Earth -- and of all planets to the edge of the universe.
The riddle that drove the first revolution is obvious and yet in 1904 remained impenetrable: how old is Earth? An encounter between the imperious Lord Kelvin and a New Zealand farm-boy-turned-physicist, Ernest Rutherford, set the stage for the solution and launched a golden century of geology. As a result, scientists learned that if the 4.5 billion years of geologic time were compressed into a single twenty-four-hour period, Homo sapiens would have arrived only in the last second. The geological Revolution of Time reveals how long the ground on which we walk has existed, and how briefly we have trod that ground.
In the early twentieth century, German meteorologist and polar explorer Alfred Wegener proposed a counterintuitive, heretical theory: that terra firma is not so firm; instead of being fixed in place, continents drift. In 1926, petroleum geologists convened in New York City to discuss Wegener's radical idea, where it was met with outrage and skepticism: "If we are to believe Wegener's hypothesis we must forget everything which has been learned in the last seventy years and start all over again," one attendee said. Forty years later, a new generation did exactly that. The Revolution of Drift, the second part of Powell's narrative, showedus how the ground on which we walk moves.
Throughout geologic time, meteorites have incessantly bombarded everything in the solar system. Far from serene and predictable, the planets are ruled by random violence on an unimaginable scale. Once a mountain-sized meteorite flew through space, struckthe Earth, killed the dinosaurs and two-thirds of all species, and spared the small hamster-sized creature that happened to be our ancestor. The chance of that happening again is essentially zero. So, the final revolution in Powell's history of a golden century of geology is the Revolution of Chance. Simply put, this revolution in thought has transformed our understanding of how lucky we really are.
If we can learn so much from considering no more than the rocks beneath our feet, what will we learn when we begin walking on other planets? "Mysteries of Terra Firma" is both charming in its storytelling and staggering in its implications. Discovering the ground on which we stand is a fascinating journey into our past -- and our future.
Simon Winchester, New York Times bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, examines the legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa, which was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogota and Washington, D.C., went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island's destruction was heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away. Most significant of all -- in view of today's new political climate -- the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-Western militancy among fundamentalist Muslims, one of the first outbreaks of Islamic-inspired killings anywhere. Krakatoa gives us an entirely new perspective on this fascinating and iconic event.
The bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman and The Map That Changed the World examines the enduring and world-changing effects of the catastrophic eruption off the coast of Java of the earth's most dangerous volcano -- Krakatoa.
The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa -- the name has since become a byword for a cataclysmic disaster -- was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. Beyond the purely physical horrors of an event that has only very recently been properly understood, the eruption changed the world in more ways than could possibly be imagined. Dust swirled round die planet for years, causing temperatures to plummet and sunsets to turn vivid with lurid and unsettling displays of light. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogota and Washington, D.C., went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island's destruction was heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away. Most significant of all -- in view of today's new political climate -- the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-Western militancy among fundamentalist Muslims: one of the first outbreaks of Islamic-inspired killings anywhere.
Simon Winchester's long experience in the world wandering as well as his knowledge of history and geology give us an entirely new perspective on this fascinating and iconic event as he brings it telling back to life.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning view of the continent, across the fortieth parallel and down through 4.6 billion years
Twenty years ago, when John McPhee began his journeys back and forth across the United States, he planned to describe a cross section of North America at about the fortieth parallel and, in the process, come to an understanding not only of the science but of the style of the geologists he traveled with. The structure of the book never changed, but its breadth caused him to complete it in stages, under the overall title Annals of the Former World.
Like the terrain it covers, Annals of the Former World tells a multilayered tale, and the reader may choose one of many paths through it. As clearly and succinctly written as it is profoundly informed, this is our finest popular survey of geology and a masterpiece of modern nonfiction.
Annals of the Former World is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.
"Compulsivo, convincente y autoritario. Una importante adici n a nuestro entendimiento de aniguas cat strofes y su impacto en la consciencia humana. Esencial lectura para el prehitoriador altrnativo."
ANDREW COLLINS, autor de Gateway to Atlantis and From the Ashes of Angels (La Entrada a la Atl ntida y De las Cenizas de los ngeles)
Matthew Fox, autor de Original Blessing (Bendici n Original) En Catastrofobia, Barbara Hand Clow, autora de libros de gran xito, examina legendarios cataclismos y muestra como, contrario a muchas profec as de fatalidades, de hecho estamos en la c spide de una era de incre ble crecimiento creativo. El reciente descubrimiento de los vestigios de arcaicos pueblos enterrados bajo el Mar Negro, es la m s ltima instancia de evidencia en ascenso de que muchas de "miticas" cat strofes de la historia--la ca da de la Atl ntida, el Diluvio B blico--fueron eventos reales. Barbara Hand Clow muestra que una serie de desatres catacl smicos, causados por una masiva alteraci n en la corteza terrestre de hace 11,500 a os, estremeci al mundo y dej la psique humana colectiva profundamente cicatrizada. Somos una especie herida y este miedo sin procesar, que pas de generaci n, es responsable de nuestreas constantes expectativas de la apocalipsis, del Y2K al famoso final del calendario Maya en el 2012. Catastrofobia revela las insidiosas fuerzas globales, que han usado estos miedos colectivos para controlar a la humanidad por miles de a os. Pero estamos a la mitad de un tremendo cambio en el ciclo precesional de la Tierra de 26,000 a os y existe toda la indicaci n de que los cambios en la consciencia durante los ltimos treinta a os son los comienzos de una colectiva curaci n de estos profundos miedos, presagiando que un tiempo de extraordinaria actividad creativa est al alcance de la mano.