Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Tsunamis
By David Rothery
Review by Elizabeth (Earth Sciences)
Towards the end of my GCSEs, I had decided I wanted to study volcanoes as part of my degree, but really had no idea what that might involve, or even what degree I was looking for! My mum gave me this book for my 16th birthday, so I could start reading around my subject, beyond the single module I had covered in Geography. The book really opened my eyes to the basic mechanisms controlling the Earth and how many areas of study surround this field, in a way that was easy to grasp, even with very little background knowledge.
One unique thing about this book is that it gives you the option to read further into those areas of particular interest – each chapter includes a 1-minute summary of the topic, a 5 minute overview, then a 15 minute exploration of the finer points, if you feel so inclined. This approach enables the reader not only to pick and choose specific areas to focus on, but also allows them to slowly build up their knowledge and in depth understanding, making the book accessible to those with a range of levels of prior knowledge.
The book’s author, David Rothery, is not only a lecturer at the Open University, but also has a background in research in the field, and this really enhances his writing. The book is dotted throughout with short anecdotes and side notes about the personal experiences of both David and other field researchers during their work. He uses these stories not only to entertain the reader, but also to enrich his explanation of the scientific processes, and give insight into the lifestyle of those working in this field.
From reading this book, I was inspired to carry out an Extended Project, further exploring one of the many case studies that Rothery describes, the ongoing eruption on the Soufriere Hills Volcano in Montserrat. In the book, a record is included of the log from the observatory in 1995 when the eruptions began, as well as details of both the physical and human impacts, approaching the event from both points of view, which is a strong theme throughout this book.
Overall, this book gave me a broad overview of the processes surrounding volcanoes, earthquakes, breaching the boundary between the geographical approach to a more scientific in-depth slant, but in a readable and interesting way.
Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Tsunamis by David Rothery