In this "excellent survey of earthquakes and their effects their mystery, terror, and science" (Christopher Arnold, president, Building Systems Development), two of the world's premier structural engineers take readers on a fascinating trip from the Earth's beginnings to recent developments in seismic technology. 100+ illustrations."
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.
At 5:36 p.m. on March 27, 1964, a magnitude 9.2. earthquake - the second most powerful in world history - struck the young state of Alaska. The violent shaking, followed by massive tsunamis, devastated the southern half of the state and killed more than 130 people. A day later, George Plafker, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, arrived to investigate. His fascinating scientific detective work in the months that followed helped confirm the then-controversial theory of plate tectonics. In a compelling tale about the almost unimaginable brute force of nature, New York Times science journalist Henry Fountain combines history and science to bring the quake and its aftermath to life in vivid detail. With deep, on-the-ground reporting from Alaska, often in the company of George Plafker, Fountain shows how the earthquake left its mark on the land and its people -- and on science.
"Anything but frigid, this book is filled with fun facts about one of Minnesota's greatest--though possibly under-appreciated--natural treasures."
"Put your mittens on; you'll freeze to death " admonish the world's grandmothers as the temperature plummets. No doubt the Arctic explorers--today in their GORE-TEX, historically in their woolens--needed no such instruction. Icy climes bring with them the dangers of frostbite, but also the poetic beauty of glaciers and ice shelves, of ice palaces and aurora borealis. Karal Ann Marling explores these topics and more as she considers the history of "hard, cold water."
What better place to start than with dessert? The pleasure of ice cream on a hot day has been known since the sixteenth century, although it wasn't until a few hundred years later that reliable refrigeration made the treat readily available. Marling expands her icy explorations to the realm of fiction--the ice crossing in Uncle Tom's Cabin, the frozen wasteland of Frankenstein--and to the movies and Broadway. Cities vie for tourists by building shimmering ice palaces to celebrate winter; explorers compete to reach the poles, and not all live to tell the story. The study of ice by a true aficionado yields fascinating insights and may just inspire readers to embrace winter--or to make their way to the nearest ice cream shop.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning view of the continent, across the fortieth parallel and down through 4.6 billion yearsTwenty 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.
Rising from the Plains is John McPhee's third book on geology and geologists. Following Basin and Range and In Suspect Terrain, it continues to present a cross section of North America along the fortieth parallel--a series gathering under the overall title Annals of the Former World.