Furnace of Creation, Cradle of Destruction: A Journey to the Birthplace of Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis

Overview

Choice Outstanding Academic Titles of 2009

Earth Science category

Over the past few years, devastating tsunamis off the coast of the Indian Ocean have killed hundreds of thousands of people. Even more alarmingly, scientists predict that these tsunamis, as well as a series of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, may eventually threaten Hawaii, California, and Oregon. The cause of this trinity of natural disasters is plate tectonics. Perhaps the ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (15) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $40.00   
  • Used (12) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$40.00
Seller since 2013

Feedback rating:

(21)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
New BEST BUY............BRAND NEW BOOK................OFX/DE.

Ships from: Bay, AR

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$50.03
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(267)

Condition: New
Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$60.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(148)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

Choice Outstanding Academic Titles of 2009

Earth Science category

Over the past few years, devastating tsunamis off the coast of the Indian Ocean have killed hundreds of thousands of people. Even more alarmingly, scientists predict that these tsunamis, as well as a series of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, may eventually threaten Hawaii, California, and Oregon. The cause of this trinity of natural disasters is plate tectonics. Perhaps the greatest advance made in the field of earth science, the plate-tectonics theory argues that the surface of the Earth is broken into large plates, which change in size and position over time. The edges of these plates rub against each other, causing earthquakes, volca­noes, and tsunamis that continue to inflict such intense destruction to the surface our planet.

In Furnace of Creation, Cradle of Destruction, renowned scientist Roy Chester reveals the fascinating history of this discovery and tells the enigmatic story of one of the great mysteries of our time: how the surface of our planet was created and how it has evolved. From the early discoveries of Sir Francis Bacon to the begin­nings of geology and the controversy surrounding the theory of conti­nental drift, this impeccably researched book reveals the evolution of a vital scientific theory. Lucid and compelling, this book offers a long-awaited explanation of the underlying forces that shape our world.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Eminently readable!...outstanding book provides a clear explanation of the…‘disaster trinities’... A rare and refreshing read!.. Highly recommended.” -- Choice magazine

“… full of good science, interesting characters…a fine resource for a high school geology student or teacher.” -- NSTA Recommends

Publishers Weekly

The title promises tales of violent disasters, but in fact British oceanographer Chester draws readers into a detailed history of geology and the science of plate tectonics. He briefly reviews premodern explanations of natural disasters as acts of God or the gods. Modern geology grew from three tenets: the earth was very old; it had changed a great deal since its formation; and the changes were natural, not divinely produced. By the late 19th century, fossil and geological evidence showed that the continents had once been joined-but explaining the dynamics of continental movement would require mapping the ocean floor, measuring changes in the earth's magnetic field and diving deep underwater where sulfur-rich hydrothermal vents fed strange and alien life forms. Sidebars highlight infamous natural disasters throughout recorded history, ending with the 2004 Asian tsunami. As in a textbook, there is clear and concise explanation, each chapter concluding with a review. Chester ends with a look at how understanding plate tectonics has made it possible to monitor for early signs of a natural disaster. 8 b&w photos, 18 illus. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814409206
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 7/28/2008
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

ROY CHESTER retired as Proudman Professor of Oceanography in the Department of Earth and Sciences at The University of Liverpool in 2004. He is the author of Marine Geochemistry, a book that became a classic text in its field.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION: THE TIME BEFORE SCIENCE

If we needed an event to remind us of the great danger that could arise from natural disasters, then the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 played the role well. The tragedy of the Asian earthquake, and the Indian Ocean tsunami that followed it, unfolded over the period of Christmas 2004. Viewers watched in horror as television screens across the world broadcast stark images of death and destruction as a tsunami struck the coastlines of the Indian Ocean. This was real. This was disaster brought into the living room.

The response from the public was immediate and unstinting. But there was something else here as well. People had witnessed the raw power of nature at its destructive worst, and there was a thirst for understanding how it had happened. I had retired from my university post at that time, but I was asked to give a series of public lectures on volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis—that great trinity of natural disasters. During these lectures, I found audiences were fascinated by the fact that there was one single underlying thread that controlled the way the surface of our planet had evolved; a thread that underpinned the way volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis were generated. That thread was the theory of plate tectonics.

Using this theory, I could explain to audiences the causes of the trinity of natural disasters in a scientific manner. But this raised a question with me: How would volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis have appeared to people in the past, before the advent of modern theories about plate tectonics or, even more intriguing, in the time before science? How would ancient cultures view destructive visitations in the shape of these natural phenomena that threatened to destroy their world? And how did our thinking evolve as we moved toward the system of knowledge in place today?

To try to answer questions such as these, I have gone back in time. First to the early cultures, where notions of the natural world were deeply wrapped in myth and legend. Then to a period in which scientific thought was starting to emerge, but where ideas were constrained by religious beliefs. Finally, to the time when restrictions were finally thrown off and the only constraint to scientific progress was the limitation of human ingenuity.

• *

A central theme in understanding plate tectonics is the notion that the continents have somehow wandered about the surface of the earth. Moving continents is not a new idea. It first emerged during the great "age of exploration," when the first reliable maps of the world began to appear. As early as 1596, the Dutch mapmaker Abraham Ortelius, in his work Thesaurus Geographic, put forward the idea that that the Americas had broken away from Europe. In 1620, Francis Bacon, the English philosopher, court politician, and "father of deductive reasoning," remarked on how the west coast of Africa and the east coast of South America appeared to fit together. So close was the fit that he suggested the continents of America and Africa had, in fact, once been joined, and later it was suggested that they had been separated by the flood—perhaps the first attempt to explain the mechanism behind the movement of the continents.

Toward the end of the twentieth century, two oceanographers diving in the deep-sea submersible Alvin on the Galapagos Ridge in the Pacific Ocean came upon one of the most astonishing sights in the history of natural science. They had discovered a staggeringly new biological community of mainly unknown animal species: massive clumps of large red tube-dwelling worms, fields of giant clams and mussels and blind crabs, all living around hot springs emerging from the seabed on an underwater mountain range.

More than 300 years separate the emergence of the earliest suggestions that the continents had moved and the discovery of the Galapagos hot springs, but both developments may be thought of as crucial stages along the timeline of a great scientific revolution during which the concept of continental drift led to the theory of seafloor spreading and finally to our current understanding of plate tectonics.

For earth science, the theory of plate tectonics was as important as Darwin's Origin of Species was for biology and the Theory of Everything will be for physics. The reason is that plate tectonics offers a unified theory to explain the way the earth has evolved by identifying the processes that have governed the way the surface features of the planet have developed—processes that also control volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. In fact, so far-reaching were the implications of the plate tectonics theory that the oft-overused expression "the textbooks had to be rewritten" was, in this case, literally true.

Often science only advances when currently held wisdom is challenged, and the road to plate tectonics is littered with some of the greatest controversies in the history of geology. Driven forward by wave after wave of new evidence, however, the revolution gathered momentum until eventually it became unstoppable. The new evidence came from many sources and brought together scientists in the fields of physics, geophysics, chemistry, biology, geology, and the relatively young discipline of oceanography. As the various lines of evidence began to gel, it became apparent that unravelling the full story of plate tectonics was like solving a massive scientific jigsaw puzzle.

The development of plate tectonics is one of the greatest stories in the forward march of modern science. By using as our central theme the changes in the way humankind has viewed volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis, we will follow the journey that led to plate tectonics from its origins in myth and legend to the science of modern times.

That is the purpose of the book—to portray the progress of human understanding from ancient mythmaking to scientific enlightenment.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xi

INTRODUCTION: The Time Before Science 1

CHAPTER 1: Setting the Scene 4

The Trinity of Natural Disasters 4

Myths and Legends 4

CHAPTER 2: Beginnings 19

What Is the Structure of the Earth? 21

How Old Is the Earth? 23

Has the Earth Changed During Its History? 26

CHAPTER 3: New Battles 32

The Rocks of the Earth 32

The Battle Is Joined 34

New Horizons40

CHAPTER 4: Toward Continental Drift 46

Important Ideas 46

The Contracting Earth 46

The Land Beneath the Sea 50

CHAPTER 5: On the Road to Explaining Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Tsunamis 55

Volcanoes 55

Earthquakes 63

Tsunamis 78

The Next Stage 85

CHAPTER 6: Continental Drift: A Theory Without a Cause 86

A Big Debate 86

Isostasy 87

Continental Drift 88

In the Shadow of Continental Drift 92

CHAPTER 7: New Horizons 97

The Challenge of the Sea 97

Mapping the Ocean Floor 99

CHAPTER 8: Seafloor Spreading 103

A Theory Emerges 103

A Theory Comes of Age 104

The Paleomagnetic Key 109

How Fast Does It Work? 112

CHAPTER 9: The Plot Thickens 114

Deep-Sea Sedimentation 114

Probing the Sediment Blanket 118

The History of the Seabed 119

CHAPTER 10: The Cycle of Birth, Life, and Destruction 123

The Dynamics of Seafloor Spreading 123

CHAPTER 11: Plate Tectonics: The Earth Science "Theory of Everything" 130

A Great Leap Forward 130

Transform Faults and New Ideas 130

Plates and "Plate Tectonics" 134

The Theory of Everything?140

CHAPTER 12: Hydrothermal Activity: A New Ocean World 143

The Thin Red Layer 143

The Lost Heat 144

Exploring the Mid-Ocean Ridges 145

A New World 146

The Pieces Begin to Fit Together 146

Diversity: "Black Smokers" and "White Smokers" 147

Vent Communities 150

Safe Havens and the Origin of Life 152

CHAPTER 13: Plate Tectonics and Volcanoes 157

CHAPTER 14: Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes 169

CHAPTER 15: Plate Tectonics and Tsunamis174

CHAPTER 16: Predicting and Mitigating Against Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Tsunamis 177

Volcanoes: "Fire and Molten Rock" 180

Earthquakes: "When the Earth Moves" 187

Tsunamis: "The Big Wave" 206

Coping with Natural Disasters 221

EPILOGUE: Deadly Years and Megadisasters 223

Change 223

The Year 2004 223

Megadisasters 224

INDEX 227

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 15, 2011

    Good Introduction to Subject

    This subject could make better use of graphs and diagrams than are included here. I haven't seen the paper version so maybe that was lost in the e-conversion. Plates and figures are cumbersome to access with no seperate listing in the contents page. Even with Nookcolor pictures and maps are difficult to read. Bookmarking for return reference seems to be limited. Ok read for first timers t subject.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 8, 2010

    Good read for lovers of geologic disasters!

    Fascinating read about the makings and inner workings of earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes, as well as plate tectonic theory and it's predecessors.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)