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.
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|Publisher:||Princeton University Press|
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About the Author
Table of ContentsForeword by Robert D. Ballard ix
Table of Conversion xvii
Chapter 1: Volcanism: Origins and Consequences 1
SIDEBAR: DATING OF VOLCANIC EVENTS
Chapter 2: The Hawaiian Islands and the Legacy of Pelee the Fire Goddess 22
Chapter 3: The Bronze Age Eruption of Thera: Destroyer of Atlantis and Minoan Crete? 47
Chapter 4: The Eruption of Vesuvius in 79 C.E.: Cultural Reverberations through the Ages 74
Chapter 5: Iceland: Coming Apart at the Seams 108
Chapter 6: The Eruption of Tambora in 1815 and "the Year without a Summer" 138
SIDEBAR: MOUNT TOBA: BIGGER THAN TAMBORA
Chapter 7: Krakatu, 1883: Devastation, Death, and Ecologic Revival 157
SIDEBAR: THE GHOSTS OF MERAPI
Chapter 8: The 1902 Eruption of Mount Pelee: A Geological Catastrophe with Political Overtones 186
SIDEBAR: MOUNT PELEE AND THE PANAMA CANAL
Chapter 9: Tristan da Cunba in 1961: Exile to the Twentieth Century 209
Chapter 10: Mount St. Helens in 1980: Catastrophe in the Cascades 228
Notes and References 261
Selected Bibliography 279