Volcano & Earthquake

January 26, 2009

Happy Non-Fiction Monday!  I’m instituting this new theme that’s done a lot on other book-review blogs.  I can’t say there will be one every week, but I’ll try my best.

Lately I have been exploring the Eyewitness books.  They’re full of pictures and brief notes, which makes reading non-fiction much more interesting and easier for me.  (I’m not generally a non-fiction reader.)  Volcano & Earthquake is pretty interesting.  I’ve always been fascinated with earthquakes, so I knew I would probably enjoy this book, but I have to say, I was a little disappointed with it.  The book doesn’t go into too many details because it follows the format of showing a picture and explaining a little bit about it.  So, for example, it shows a picture of Old Faithful and explains that it’s a geyser that erupts every hour.  But it doesn’t tell me WHY this happens so regularly.  (And, darn it, I really want to know.)  I guess maybe these books are just good for giving you a basic introduction and lead you to more in-depth information.

Another problem I had with it is that during the earthquake sections, the book only mentions earthquakes along the Ring of Fire.  Growing up near the New Madrid Seismic Zone, I know there are more fault lines than those.  I also know that in 1811 and 1812 there were three major earthquakes in that area, a giant seismic event that is not mentioned in the book or the timeline at the back.

Even with these two problems for me, I still enjoyed the book and learned a lot…the incredibly quick eruption of Mount Pelee in 1902 that completely decimated Saint-Pierre?  Shocking!  The early seismoscope invented in 132 CE?  Fascinating!  A decent entry into the world of volcanoes and earthquakes.