Catastrophes!: Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, and Other Earth-Shattering Disasters

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Overview

Devastating natural disasters have profoundly shaped human history, leaving us with a respect for the mighty power of the earth—and a humbling view of our future. Paleontologist and geologist Donald R. Prothero tells the harrowing human stories behind these catastrophic events.

Prothero describes in gripping detail some of the most important natural disasters in history:

• the New Madrid, Missouri, earthquakes of 1811–1812 that caused church bells to ring in Boston• the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people• the massive volcanic eruptions of Krakatau, Mount Tambora, Mount Vesuvius, Mount St. Helens, and Nevado del Ruiz

His clear and straightforward explanations of the forces that caused these disasters accompany gut-wrenching accounts of terrifying human experiences and a staggering loss of human life.

Floods that wash out whole regions, earthquakes that level a single country, hurricanes that destroy everything in their path—all are here to remind us of how little control we have over the natural world. Dramatic photographs and eyewitness accounts recall the devastation wrought by these events, and the people—both heroes and fools—that are caught up in the earth's relentless forces.

Eerie, fascinating, and often moving, these tales of geologic history and human fortitude and folly will stay with you long after you put the book down.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Natural Hazards Observer

This book... has the bases covered. Prothero is an engaging writer.

Birdbooker Report
If you want to learn more about these disasters than just what's in the news headlines, this is the book for you.

— Ian Paulsen

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Fascinating reading, if somewhat terrifying... Prothero explains the geologic and meteorological forces behind disasters, emphasizing the science with examples of real-world events, giving us a three-dimensional view of not only the natural processes involved but the human and monetary toll, as well.

— Libbie Martin

Choice

Recommended.

Birdbooker Report - Ian Paulsen

If you want to learn more about these disasters than just what's in the news headlines, this is the book for you.

Laelaps blog, Wired.com - Brian Switek

During a time when global climate change is becoming an increasing concern and details of global catastrophes arrive on our computer screens as they unfold elsewhere, Prothero’s book is a useful guide to the mechanisms and effects of some of nature’s most frightening events.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Libbie Martin

Fascinating reading, if somewhat terrifying... Prothero explains the geologic and meteorological forces behind disasters, emphasizing the science with examples of real-world events, giving us a three-dimensional view of not only the natural processes involved but the human and monetary toll, as well.

Choice

Recommended.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801896927
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 4/16/2011
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 1,111,948
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald R. Prothero is a professor of geology at Occidental College and coeditor or author of many books, including Horns, Tusks, and Flippers: The Evolution of Hoofed Mammals and The Evolution of Artiodactyls, both published by Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Prologue Catastrophism and Uniformitarianism 1

1 Earthquakes The Earth in Upheaval 9

2 Tsunamis The Sea Rises Up 55

3 Volcanoes Hell's Cauldron 76

4 Landslides Gravity Always Wins 107

5 Floods Raging Waters 135

6 Hurricanes, Cyclones, and Typhoons Nature on the Rampage 156

7 Tornadoes Funnels of Death 182

8 Blizzards White Death 202

9 Ice Ages Frozen Planet 216

10 Greenhouse Planet Too Hot to Handle? 242

11 Mass Extinctions When Life Nearly Died 268

12 Can We Survive Nature-and Our Own Folly? 294

Bibliography 309

Index 315

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