[herbs Books] eBook Catastrophes author Donald R. Prothero

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Catastrophes

Urricanes that destroy everything in their pathmdash;all are here to remind us of how little control we have over the natural world Dramatic photographs and eyewitness accounts recall the devastation wrought by these events and the peoplemdash;both heroes and foolsmdash;that are caught up in the earth's relentless forces PEerie fascinating and often moving these tales of geologic history and human fortitude and folly will stay with you long after you put the book do. It is what it claims to be an overview of types and examples of natural disasters that afflict our world It provides a fairly good overview of the most dangerous and catastrophic events that humanity has experienced while offering reasons for some of the major events and suggestions as to how such occurrences can be mitigated in the future The writing style is clear and concise not overly flowery or needlessly gruesomeI have this book for stars because most of the material was exactly as described However I withheld the fifth star because the last three chapter were like school lessons about ice ages global warming and mass extinction One section even discussed how the world might end going beyond the scope of this book

REVIEW Catastrophes

O ring in BostonAcirc;bull; the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed than 230000 peopleAcirc;bull; the massive volcanic eruptions of Krakatau Mount Tambora Mount Vesuvius Mount St Helens and Nevado del RuizPHis clear and straightforward explanations of the forces that caused these disasters accompany gut wrenching accounts of terrifying human experiences and a staggering loss of human life PFloods that wash out whole regions earthuakes that level a single country h. Very interesting and readable book for a non science reader like me interested in geology climate and history The book is divided into chapters about different types of disasters the earthuake chapter starts with a description of how the 1755 Lisbon earthuake crushed the European optimistic spirit of its times We all know about the Christmas Indian Ocean tsunami now but interesting to read about it in context with other disasterous tsunamis that have hit coasts in the past Earthuakes volcanoes floods ice ages landslides hurricanes amazing things have happened to the Earth The top five natural disasters that have killed the most people have all occurred in Asia Floods in China hold the record for deadliest disasters Will look for books by this author

REVIEW Ö SABLEYES.CO.UK × Donald R. Prothero

PDevastating natural disasters have profoundly shaped human history leaving us with a respect for the mighty power of the earthmdash;and a humbling view of our future Paleontologist and geologist Donald R Prothero tells the harrowing human stories behind these catastrophic eventsPProthero describes in gripping detail some of the most important natural disasters in history#58;PAcirc;bull; the New Madrid Missouri earthuakes of 1811ndash;1812 that caused church bells t. Since the dawn of human history catastrophes like earthuakes volcanic eruptions and blizzards have been seen by many as the capricious acts of a wrathful Deity bent on punishing humanity Even today most might ascribe such disasters as the work of Divine Providence run amok instead of belonging to an ongoing series of naturally occurring geological and meteorological events Catastrophes Earthuakes Tsunamis Tornadoes and other Earth Shattering Disasters is a revealing often insightful look at these events as seen from the eyes of distinguished vertebrate paleobiologist Donald Prothero and one whose uniue perspective comes just weeks after the horrific Sendai Japan earthuake and tsunami Prothero discusses not only the natural history of these disasters but all too often cites how governments and people have often ignored at great peril to themselves credible warnings by scientists regarding the potential dangers posed by such disasters Indeed this isn t only true in classic examples as government and public responses to imminent volcanic eruptions and euations but even relatively mundane disasters such as landslides which Prothero discusses at length even when such discussions may be far less riveting than his accounts of the A D 79 eruption of the volcano Vesuvius which wiped out the Roman towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii or the great 1906 San Francisco earthuake and yet discussions worth noting by readers interested in potential lapses in public policy with respect to dealing with the potential for such disasters Catastrophes can be seen as a book organized loosely in three sections with the first five chapters devoted respectively to earthuakes tsunamis volcanoes landslides and floods a much longer section devoted to meteorological disasters ranging from hurricanes to blizzards that segues into extensive discussions of ice ages and mass extinctions Prothero is at his best in recounting natural catastrophes like the Vesuvius eruption Lisbon and San Francisco earthuakes Such accounts are truly mesmerizing drawn upon eyewitness accounts and greatly informed by his relevant knowledge of the geological sciences His writing tends to be a bit less engrossing when he discusses for example Landslides Chapter 4 especially with regards to devastating landslides in and around his native Southern California many of which he implies could have been prevented had local governments and people heeded ample signs of prior landslides afflicting these Southern Californian hills Among the best discussions in Catastrophes are Prothero s extensive accounts of ice ages and mass extinctions His chapter on ice ages could serve as an excellent introduction to them in a basic geology course aimed for general audiences A close second is his chapter on mass extinctions especially with regards to his excellent if rather terse discussion of current biodiversity losses in what many now regard as the Sixth great mass extinction in the Phanerozoic Eon which recently in Nature a team led by Prothero s Berkeley California colleague Anthony Barnovsky has shown that ongoing extinction rates for plants and animals are nearly as high as those for the two worst mass extinctions in the last three hundred million years the terminal Permian mass extinction event that wiped out nearly 90% of Earth s biodiversity and the terminal Cretaceous mass extinction event that wiped out the nonavian dinosaurs all of the great marine and flying reptiles and notable marine invertebrates like ammonites distant relatives of the extant octopus and suid However Prothero devotes too much of this chapter to debunking asteroid impacts as a primary cause of mass extinctions including the terminal Cretaceous event especially when there is indeed compelling evidence that points to its extraterrestrial origin in the form of a substantial submerged crater at Chicxulub Yucatan Mexico Instead he cites uestionable studies by Princeton micropaleontologist Gerta Keller which contend that the terminal Cretaceous mass extinction of planktic foraminifera amoeba which possesses calcium carbonate skeletons was a gradual drawn out process comprised of stepped extinctions not a sudden catastrophic mass extinction as other studies have demonstrated convincingly Keller is the sole notable opponent and held onto her opposition despite a substantial scientific literature that exists in support of a sudden catastrophic collapse of planktic foraminiferal biodiversity Without a doubt Prothero has offered a relatively concise overview of natural disasters in Catastrophes one that should garner ample interest especially by those interested in public policy implications in the wake of both the Sendai Japan earthuake and tsunami and ongoing meteorological disasters like the current series of deadly tornadoes in the Midwestern United States Lest one worries that volcanic eruptions and earthuakes are far dangerous and deadly than tornadoes Prothero acknowledges in his concluding chapter that there are far fatalities due to meteorological disasters than those resulting from these geological events associated with plate tectonics For these reasons alone this book is a noteworthy contribution to our understanding of the natural history of natural disasters


About the Author: Donald R. Prothero

Donald R Prothero is a Professor of Geology at Occidental College and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology He teaches Physical and Historical Geology Sedimentary Geology and Paleontology His specialties are mammalian paleontology and magnetic stratigraphy of the Cenozoic His current research focuses on the dating of the climatic changes that occurred between 30 an



10 thoughts on “Catastrophes

  1. says:

    Since the dawn of human history catastrophes like earthuakes volcanic eruptions and blizzards have been seen by many as the capricious acts of a wrathful Deity bent on punishing humanity Even today most might ascribe such disasters as the work of Divine Providence run amok instead of belonging to an ongoing series of naturally occurring geological and meteorological events Catastrophes Earthuakes Tsunamis Tornadoes and other Earth

  2. says:

    Catastrophes Earthuakes Tsunamis Tornadoes and Other Earth Shattering Disasters By Donald R Prothero “Catastrophes is a

  3. says:

    Not a bad account of various disasters though obviously written very fast and without checking the facts too thoroughly the Pompeian episode which I know better than others as well as the Lisbon one have some obvious mistakes mostly i

  4. says:

    oh man This book probably deserves it’s own post for the bad ness of its numerical editing and the unevenly applied science Read with caution and a hefty dose of not taking it seriously That said the general de

  5. says:

    As files to wanton boys are we to th' gods they kill us for their sport Gloucester King Lear Act 4 Scene 1This book chronicles some of the greatest natural disasters in human history and the mechanics that make them so deadly With a clear straight forward style Prothero recounts the 1906 San Francisco Earthuake the 2004 Indian Tsunami The Great Scablands Floods and many other such catastrophes that continue to

  6. says:

    Very interesting and readable book for a non science reader like me interested in geology climate and history The book is divided into chapters about different types of disasters the earthuake chapter starts with a description of ho

  7. says:

    It is what it claims to be an overview of types and examples of natural disasters that afflict our world It provides a fairly good overview of the most dangerous and catastrophic events that humanity has experienced while offering reasons for some of the major events and suggestions as to how such occurrences can be mitigated in the future The writing style is clear and concise not overly flowery or needlessly gruesomeI have th

  8. says:

    Naturally occurring catastrophes are fascinating and frightening We had just visit New Madrid Missouri the site of hundreds of earthuakes between 1811 and 1812 so I was intrigued and wanted to learn I also wanted to learn about the zones susceptible to hurricanes the how and the why There were several brief succinct accounts of many events of different types blizzards hurricanes earthuakes tornadoes volcanoes and It di

  9. says:

    A noteworthy contribution to our understanding of our planet Very readable and interesting on several levels with a powerful ending that hits the reader with a gut punch that shocks us in the knowledge that despite how explosive the catastrophic tsunamis tornadoes earthuakes and hurricanes are the greatest threats to our well being both in the short and long term are the flooding drought and climatic changes that we are bringin

  10. says:

    Don Prothero is a science hero of mine and he is a genuinely nice guy with a lovely family I suppose since I have heard Don speak on a number of these issues there was not too much for me to learn in this his latest book If you never read Prot

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