Geology
Featured Items
Why the Earth Quakes
Why the Earth Quakes
Paperback      ISBN: 0393315274

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."

Magnitude 8: Earthquakes and Life Along San Andreas Fault
Magnitude 8
Earthquakes and Life Along San Andreas Fault
Paperback      ISBN: 0520221192

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.

The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers
The Source
How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers
Hardcover      ISBN: 0393242358

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.

The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet
The Great Quake
How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet
Hardcover      ISBN: 1101904062
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

In the bestselling tradition of Erik Larson's Isaac's Storm, The Great Quake is a riveting narrative about the biggest earthquake in North American recorded history -- the 1964 Alaska earthquake that demolished the city of Valdez and swept away the island village of Chenega -- and the geologist who hunted for clues to explain how and why it took place.

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.


Zoom: From Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees: How Everything Moves
Zoom: From Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees
How Everything Moves
Paperback      ISBN: 0316217395
From the speed of light to moving mountains -- and everything in between -- Zoom explores how the universe and its objects move.

If you sit as still as you can in a quiet room, you might be able to convince yourself that nothing is moving. But air currents are still wafting around you. Blood rushes through your veins. The atoms in your chair jiggle furiously. In fact, the planet you are sitting on is whizzing through space thirty-five times faster than the speed of sound.

Natural motion dominates our lives and the intricate mechanics of the world around us. In Zoom, Bob Berman explores how motion shapes every aspect of the universe, literally from the ground up. With an entertaining style and a gift for distilling the wondrous, Berman spans astronomy, geology, biology, meteorology, and the history of science, uncovering how clouds stay aloft, how the Earth's rotation curves a home run's flight, and why a mosquito's familiar whine resembles a telephone's dial tone.

For readers who love to get smarter without realizing it, Zoom bursts with science writing at its best.
Ice: Great Moments in the History of Hard, Cold Water
Ice
Great Moments in the History of Hard, Cold Water
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0873516281

"Anything but frigid, this book is filled with fun facts about one of Minnesota's greatest--though possibly under-appreciated--natural treasures."
Minnesota Monthly

"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.

Annals of the Former World
Annals of the Former World
Paperback      ISBN: 0374518734

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.
The Spinning Magnet: The Electromagnetic Force That Created the Modern World--And Could Destroy It
The Spinning Magnet
The Electromagnetic Force That Created the Modern World--And Could Destroy It
Hardcover      ISBN: 110198516x
The mystery of Earth's invisible, life-supporting power

Alanna Mitchell's globe-trotting history of the science of electromagnetism and the Earth's magnetic field--right up to the latest indications that the North and South Poles may soon reverse, with apocalyptic results--will soon change the way you think about our planet.

Award-winning journalist Alanna Mitchell's science storytelling introduce intriguing characters--from the thirteenth-century French investigations into magnetism and the Victorian-era discover that electricity and magnetism emerge from the same fundamental force to the latest research. No one has ever told so eloquently how the Earth itself came to be seen as a magnet, spinning in space with two poles, and that those poles have dramatically reversed many time, often coinciding with mass extinctions. The most recent reversal was 780,000 years ago.

Mitchell explores indications that the Earth's magnetic force field is decaying faster than previously thought. When the poles switch, a process that takes many years, the Earth is unprotected from solar radiation storms that would, among other disturbances, wipe out much and possible all of our electromagnetic technology. Navigation for all kinds of animals is disrupted without a stable, magnetic North Pole. But can you imagine no satellites, no Internet, no smartphones--maybe no power grids at all?

Alanna Mitchell offers a beautifully crafted narrative history of surprising ideas and science, illuminating invisible parts of our own planet that are constantly changing around us.
The Book of Unconformities: Speculations on Lost Time
The Book of Unconformities
Speculations on Lost Time
Hardcover      ISBN: 0804197997
From the author of the acclaimed Insectopedia, a powerful exploration of loss, endurance, and the absences that permeate the present

When Hugh Raffles's two sisters died suddenly within a few weeks of each other, he reached for rocks, stones, and other seemingly solid objects as anchors in a world unmoored, as ways to make sense of these events through stories far larger than his own.

A moving, profound, and affirming meditation, The Book of Unconformities is grounded in stories of stones: Neolithic stone circles, Icelandic lava, mica from a Nazi concentration camp, petrified whale blubber in Svalbard, the marble prized by Manhattan's Lenape, and a huge Greenlandic meteorite that arrived with six Inuit adventurers in the exuberant but fractious New York City of 1897.

As Raffles follows these fundamental objects, unearthing the events they've engendered, he finds them losing their solidity and becoming as capricious, indifferent, and willful as time itself.
Rising from the Plains
Rising from the Plains
Paperback      ISBN: 0374520658

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.