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

ISBN-10: 0691118388
ISBN-13: 9780691118383
Edition: 2002
List price: $37.50 Buy it from $7.98
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Description: 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  More...

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Book details

List price: $37.50
Copyright year: 2002
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 11/21/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

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 novelFrankenstein. 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 Peleacute;e, 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.

Robert Ballard was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1942, and was educated at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Hawaii, the University of Southern California, and the University of Rhode Island, where he received his Ph.D. in 1974. Part explorer, part geologist, part oceanographer, and part marine engineer, Ballard has worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Falmouth, Massachusetts, since 1969. He is currently director of the Center for Marine Exploration there. Ballard is perhaps best known to the general public in connection to the luxury liner Titanic. Ballard organized and participated in the expedition that discovered the ship in 1985. More important, however, is his work in designing underwater survey vehicles and in participating in dives to explore the ocean floor. His work in marine design and engineering, in particular, has led to a dramatic increase in the scope of deep-sea exploration. In the 1960s, Ballard helped develop the Alvin, a deep-sea, three-man submersible equipped with a remote controlled mechanical arm for collecting specimens from the ocean floor. The device played an important role in mid-ocean studies, including exploration of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and dives to the Cayman Trough, a 24,000-foot-deep gash in the ocean floor south of Cuba. Ballard was part of the Galapagos Hydrothermal Expedition in 1977, which discovered and investigated deep-sea thermal vents spouting mineral-rich water from volcanic cracks in the Earth's crust. In the 1980s, Ballard helped develop the Argo-Jason unmanned submersible system, the most advanced craft of its kind. Argo is a 16-foot submersible vehicle and Jason is a self-propelled robot tethered to Argo. The search for the Titanic was undertaken as a test of the Argo-Jason system; the success of the expedition demonstrated its capabilities and, according to Ballard, "ushered in a new era of undersea exploration." The author of several bestselling books on deep-sea exploration, Ballard also contributes regularly to National Geographic and other magazines and he has produced several videotapes of deep-sea expeditions. His reputation as a "science populizer" has prompted harsh criticism from some of his scientific colleagues. In 1985, Ballard was one of four scientists awarded a Secretary of the Navy Research Chair in Oceanography, an award that carries with it an $800,000 grant for oceanographic research.

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Table of Conversion
Volcanism: Origins and Consequences
Sidebar: Dating of Volcanic Events
The Hawaiian Islands and the Legacy of Pelee the Fire Goddess
The Bronze Age Eruption of Thera: Destroyer of Atlantis and Minoan Crete?
The Eruption of Vesuvius in 79 C.E.: Cultural Reverberations through the Ages
Iceland: Coming Apart at the Seams
The Eruption of Tambora in 1815 and "the Year without a Summer"
Sidebar: Mount Toba: Bigger than Tambora
Krakatu, 1883: Devastation, Death, and Ecologic Revival
Sidebar: The Ghosts of Merapi
The 1902 Eruption of Mount Pelee: A Geological Catastrophe with Political Overtones
Sidebar: Mount Pelee and the Panama Canal
Tristan da Cunba in 1961: Exile to the Twentieth Century
Mount St. Helens in 1980: Catastrophe in the Cascades
Afterword
Glossary
Notes and References
Selected Bibliography
Index

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