Cover image for Dangerous Earth : what we wish we knew about volcanoes, hurricanes, climate change, earthquakes, and more
Dangerous Earth : what we wish we knew about volcanoes, hurricanes, climate change, earthquakes, and more
Physical Description:
230 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
"What if we could predict natural disasters? What do scientists know about them already, and what do they wish they knew? Dangerous Earth explores for general readers the state of the sciences that investigate volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, landslides, rip currents, and - the deadliest hazard of all - climate change and its likely local effects. Each chapter takes the reader on a tour of our understanding of one of these hazards, beginning with narratives of key historical events (such as the eruption of Mt. St. Helen's and the landfall of Hurricane Katrina) and ending with overviews of what remains unknown about Earth's most dynamic processes. Along the way, we meet the scientists learning to read the planet's warning signs and working to pass the messages along to the rest of us"--


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Book 551 PRA 1 1

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The Earth is a beautiful and wondrous planet, but also frustratingly complex and, at times, violent: much of what has made it livable can also cause catastrophe. Volcanic eruptions create land and produce fertile, nutrient-rich soil, but they can also bury forests, fields, and entire towns under ash, mud, lava, and debris. The very forces that create and recycle Earth's crust also spawn destructive earthquakes and tsunamis. Water and wind bring and spread life, but in hurricanes they can leave devastation in their wake. And while it is the planet's warmth that enables life to thrive, rapidly increasing temperatures are causing sea levels to rise and weather events to become more extreme.

Today, we know more than ever before about the powerful forces that can cause catastrophe, but significant questions remain. Why can't we better predict some natural disasters? What do scientists know about them already? What do they wish they knew? In Dangerous Earth , marine scientist and science communicator Ellen Prager explores the science of investigating volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, landslides, rip currents, and--maybe the most perilous hazard of all--climate change. Each chapter considers a specific hazard, begins with a game-changing historical event (like the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens or the landfall and impacts of Hurricane Harvey), and highlights what remains unknown about these dynamic phenomena. Along the way, we hear from scientists trying to read Earth's warning signs, pass its messages along to the rest of us, and prevent catastrophic loss.

A sweeping tour of some of the most awesome forces on our planet--many tragic, yet nonetheless awe-inspiring-- Dangerous Earth is an illuminating journey through the undiscovered, unresolved, and in some cases unimagined mysteries that continue to frustrate and fascinate the world's leading scientists: the "wish-we-knews" that ignite both our curiosity and global change.

Author Notes

Ellen Prager is a marine scientist and author, widely recognized for her expertise and ability to make science entertaining and understandable for people of all ages. She was formerly the chief scientist at the world's only undersea research station, Aquarius Reef Base in the Florida Keys, and assistant dean at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Currently, she is a freelance writer, consultant, and science advisor to Celebrity Cruises in the Galapagos Islands. Among her numerous works of popular science writing is Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans' Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter , also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Earthly Dangers and Sciencep. 1
1 Climate Changep. 5
2 Volcanoesp. 55
3 Earthquakes and Tsunamisp. 103
4 Hurricanesp. 147
5 Rogue Waves, Landslides, Rip Currents, Sinkholes, and Sharksp. 175
Conclusion: Knowing Enough to Actp. 193
Acknowledgmentsp. 197
Further Readingp. 199