Whenever a volcano threatens to erupt, scientists and adventurers from around the world flock to the site in response to the irresistible allure of one of nature's most dangerous and unpredictable phenomena. In a unique book probing the science and mystery of these fiery features, the authors chronicle not only their geologic behavior but also their profound effect on human life. From Mount Vesuvius to Mount St. Helens, the book covers the surprisingly large variety of volcanoes, the subtle to conspicuous signs preceding their eruptions, and their far-reaching atmospheric consequences. Here scientific facts take on a very human dimension, as the authors draw upon actual encounters with volcanoes, often through firsthand accounts of those who have witnessed eruptions and miraculously survived the aftermath. The book begins with a description of the lethal May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens--complete with an explanation of how safety officials and scientists tried to predict events, and how unsuspecting campers and loggers miles away struggled against terrifying blasts of ash, stone, and heat.
The story moves quickly to the ways volcanoes have enhanced our lives, creating mineral-rich land, clean thermal energy, and haunting landscapes that in turn benefit agriculture, recreation, mining, and commerce. Religion and psychology embroider the account, as the authors explore the impact of volcanoes on the human psyche through tales of the capricious volcano gods and attempts to appease them, ranging from simple homage to horrific ritual sacrifice. Volcanoes concludes by assisting readers in experiencing these geological phenomena for themselves. An unprecedented "tourist guide to volcanoes" outlines over forty sites throughout the world. Not only will travelers find information on where to go and how to get there, they will also learn what precautions to take at each volcano. Tourists, amateur naturalists, and armchair travelers alike will find their scientific curiosity whetted by this informative and entertaining book.
Richard V. Fisher is Professor Emeritus of Geological Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Grant Heiken, a volcanologist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, teaches courses in volcanology at the University of New Mexico. Jeffrey B. Hulen is a research geologist at the Energy and Geoscience Institute of the University of Utah.
PrefaceAcknowledgmentsPt. IVolcanoes and Eruptions1Ch. 1Politicians and Volcanoes3A Modern Tragedy: Mount St. Helens7Ch. 2Why Do Volcanoes Erupt?29From the Tiny Molecule, Giants Grow34Volcano Country38Ch. 3Volcanoes and Eruptions41Types of Volcanoes43Volcanic Eruptions48Two Eruption Types53Ch. 4Poseidon and Pluto: Water and Volcanoes65Bikini and the Base Surge69Taal Volcano71Maar Volcanoes and Cinder Cones73A Little-Known Frontier: Volcanic Eruptions under the Sea77Pt. IIThe Hazards of Volcanoes87Ch. 5Volcanic Hurricanes89What Happens inside a Pyroclastic Flow?94What Goes Up Must Come Down95Mount Unzen and Merapi95Firecloud Rock: A Detective Story102Calderas and Pyroclastic Flows105Volcanism after a Caldera Collapse111World War II and the Battle for a Caldera111Ch. 6Falling Volcanoes and Floods of Mud115A Mountain Fell117Debris Avalanches and Slides beneath the Sea123Volcanic Debris Flows (Lahars)123Potential Destruction from Mount Rainier129Ch. 7Lava Flows133Stopping a Lava Flow137Interrupting a Lava Flow139The 1991-1992 Eruption of Mount Etna140Lava Put to Use142A Ride on a Lava Flow144Ch. 8Never Sail through an Eruption Cloud147A Sailing Ship and a Jet149Other Encounters with Ash Clouds153Jetliners155Ash and Aircraft Safety157Ch. 9The Breath of Volcanoes163Effects of Volcanic Gases165The Year without a Summer170Pt. IIIMyths and Benefits of Volcanoes175Ch. 10Sometimes the Gods Are Angry177Volcanoes Assault the Senses179Changing Ideas from Old to New181Thera (Santorini): Its Influence on the Modern World182Volcanoes and the Underworld187Divine Intervention189The Making of a Myth194The Emergence of Volcanology as a Science196Science and Modern Ritual197Ch. 11Volcanoes for Consumers199Skiing and Hot Baths201Construction Materials and Kitty Litter202The Grand Tour211Modern Volcano Tourism214Ch. 12Volcanic Treasures: Steam, Gold, and Diamonds217Steam219Oil and Volcanoes Don't Mix ... or Do They?224Volcanoes and Prospectors' Dreams225Volcanic Gemstones227Ch. 13From Ashes Grow the Vines231The Allure of Volcanoes237Fertility and Rebirth240Recovery from Vulcan's Devastation241Ch. 14Volcanic Rocks: Guardians of History245Volcanic Ash: The Nearly Perfect Preservative247Human Origins in the Ethiopian Rift248Preserving Historic Cultures251Pt. IVLiving near Volcanoes259Ch. 15Mitigation and Survival261Assessing the Hazards: The Pulse of Volcanoes266What Is a Disaster?268The Lesson of Armero272Mount Pinatubo: A Success Story275Volcanologists on the Front Lines279Dante and the Volcano284Appendix 1The Volcano Traveler287Appendix 2Metric Conversion Table312Index313