Ashes were already falling, not as yet very thickly. I looked round: a dense black cloud was coming up behind us, spreading over the earth like a flood. That’s Pliny the Younger, writing to Tacitus about the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE, one of many volcanic eruptions that have become part of the story of human history. We have always, it seems, been simultaneously fascinated and terrified by volcanoes, and this book brings together an unforgettable selection of firsthand accounts from around the world and through the centuries. In these pages, anonymous seventeenth-century seafarers tell of exploding islands, Alexander Von Humboldt and Charles Darwin show us volcanoes through the eyes of developing science, and artists sketch the spectacular London sunsets created by the eruption of Krakatoa, half the world away. As the years pass, words and paintings give way to the first photograph of an eruption, and eventually to detailed satellite imagery, but the awesome force of volcanoes still comes through, sublime and spectacular. As we were reminded in 2010 when the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull snarled travel throughout Europe, volcanoes remain powerful and unpredictable even today. In the pages of this book, we can appreciate their majesty from a safe distance.
|Publisher:||Bodleian Library, University of Oxford|
|Product dimensions:||8.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
David M. Pyle is a volcanologist and professor of earth sciences at the University of Oxford.
Table of Contents
Foreword Introduction Volcanoes and the heat of the Earth Plate tectonics Oceanic ridges and continental rifts A volcanic arc Measuring volcanoes 1 Volcanoes in early accounts Hades Volcanoes of the Atlantic Ocean The Mediterranean The sixteenth century Athanasius Kircher 2 Vesuvius awakes December 1631 Etna, 1669 William Hamilton 1817 eruption 1834 eruption 1906 eruption Vesuvius and popular culture The first volcanic photograph 3 The origins of lava Polygonal rocks Melting rocks Field examples 4 Europeans explore the world’s volcanoes Pirates and burning islands Eighteenth-century explorers Nineteenth-century natural historians 5 World-changing eruptions Appearing and disappearing islands Jorullo and Parícutin Laki, 1783 Tambora, 1815 Krakatoa, 1883 6 Living with volcanoes Montserrat St Vincent May 1902 The destruction of St Pierre, Martinique 7 Detecting the next volcanic eruption Santorini, Greece Why can’t we predict volcanic eruptions? Gazetteer of eruptions Notes Acknowledgments Bibliography Index