Volcanoes in Human History: The Far-Reaching Effects of Major Eruptions

Volcanoes in Human History: The Far-Reaching Effects of Major Eruptions

by Jelle Zeilinga de Boer, Donald Theodore Sanders
     
 

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When the volcano Tambora erupted in Indonesia in 1815, as many as 100,000 people perished as a result of the blast and an ensuing famine caused by the destruction of rice fields on Sumbawa and neighboring islands. Gases and dust particles ejected into the atmosphere changed weather patterns around the world, resulting in the infamous ''year without a summer'' in

Overview

When the volcano Tambora erupted in Indonesia in 1815, as many as 100,000 people perished as a result of the blast and an ensuing famine caused by the destruction of rice fields on Sumbawa and neighboring islands. Gases and dust particles ejected into the atmosphere changed weather patterns around the world, resulting in the infamous ''year without a summer'' in North America, food riots in Europe, and a widespread cholera epidemic. And the gloomy weather inspired Mary Shelley to write the gothic novel Frankenstein.

This book tells the story of nine such epic volcanic events, explaining the related geology for the general reader and exploring the myriad ways in which the earth's volcanism has affected human history. Zeilinga de Boer and Sanders describe in depth how volcanic activity has had long-lasting effects on societies, cultures, and the environment. After introducing the origins and mechanisms of volcanism, the authors draw on ancient as well as modern accounts--from folklore to poetry and from philosophy to literature. Beginning with the Bronze Age eruption that caused the demise of Minoan Crete, the book tells the human and geological stories of eruptions of such volcanoes as Vesuvius, Krakatau, Mount Pelée, and Tristan da Cunha. Along the way, it shows how volcanism shaped religion in Hawaii, permeated Icelandic mythology and literature, caused widespread population migrations, and spurred scientific discovery.

From the prodigious eruption of Thera more than 3,600 years ago to the relative burp of Mount St. Helens in 1980, the results of volcanism attest to the enduring connections between geology and human destiny.

Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

Editorial Reviews

Robert C. Cowen
In all, the authors present 11 volcanoes to explain what it means to live with volcanic hazards. It's easy to look back and say fewer people would have chosen to live in such risky places if they had know what was involved. But that's cold comfort. Our crowded planet now offers many at-risk populations little alternative - as in the case of Naples. We have to make the most of our scientific understanding to deal with hazards that people cannot avoid. We should love our life- sustaining planet, risks and all, for we certainly can't leave it. This book will help interested readers understand some of its foibles.
Christian Science Monitor
Library Journal
After an introductory chapter on volcanism, this volume by geologists Zeilinga de Boer and Sanders shifts its focus to particular volcanic events (e.g., Vesuvius, Mt. Pel e, Krakatau) and areas of volcanic activity (e.g., the Hawaiian Islands and Iceland). The events themselves are described, but the emphasis is on the long-term effects of volcanic activity. The authors make it clear that those effects extend beyond the location of the volcano; there are widespread repercussions that influence everything from literature and religion to population migrations and global weather patterns. The authors have applied their geologic knowledge and experience, along with solid research, to produce an accessible book on volcanoes. It is more readable than either Alwyn Scarth's Vulcan's Fury (LJ 9/1/99) or Haraldur Sigurdsson's Melting the Earth (LJ 5/1/99), both of which are referenced. The authors also make good use of historical sources, such as Charles Morris's Volcano's Deadly Work (1902) and Edward Bulwer-Lytton's Last Days of Pompeii (1834). Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. Jean E. Crampon, Science & Engineering Lib., Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400842858
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
01/02/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
660,040
File size:
5 MB

Meet the Author

Jelle Zeilinga de Boer is the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science at Wesleyan University. His publications include work on the geodynamic evolution of the Appalachians, Costa Rica, Greece, Panama, and the Philippines. Donald Theodore Sanders has worked as a petroleum geologist, a science editor for encyclopedias, and an editor of corporate scientific publications. Before retiring from IBM, he created and edited that company’s award-winning academic magazine "Perspectives in Computing". Zeilinga de Boer and Sanders are also the coauthors of "Earthquakes in Human History "(Princeton).

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