From Library Journal
-Teresa Berry, Univ. of Tennessee Lib., Knoxville
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Structure is thematic, with the 82 extensive articles organized into nine sections. After two very informative introductory articles that give an overview of volcanism and the history of volcanology, the first eight sections address the physical processes and materials produced by those processes. Part one is a discussion of magma; parts two through four address various types of volcanoes, eruptions, and materials flows. Volcanism elsewhere in the solar system, an area of growing interest, is the subject of part five. Parts six through eight address the interaction of volcanic events with other physical systems on Earth, such as the atmosphere, oceans, glaciers, and lakes. The final major section treats the economic and cultural aspects of volcanoes, with interesting essays on such topics as art, literature and film, economics, and archeology. The nine sections are followed by two appendixes. One lists units of measurement and conversion factors. The second is a comprehensive catalog of known volcanoes. A very thorough alphabetical index completes this outstanding presentation.
The articles average about 16 pages in length. Each article is a full-length treatment of a concept or set of concepts and begins with an outline of the article and a glossary of terms. At the end of each article is a list of cross-references to other articles within the encyclopedia and a brief bibliography. The entries are liberally illustrated with photographs, maps, diagrams, and graphs. Also included are 12 color plates. The articles can be quite technical but not any more than they need to be in giving serious academic treatment to the topic. Readers who are less familiar with this area of geology will find the glossary in each article to be very useful. However, the book will likely not be accessible to most readers below the college level. For readers who are looking for a simpler overview of many of the topics treated here, Facts On File's Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes [RBB Ap 15 94] is probably a better choice.
This volume is indispensable for anyone who is serious about understanding volcanoes on a sophisticated level. From the highly useful overview of specific topics and processes to the definitions of particular terms, there is no better or more comprehensive work available--nor is there likely to be. Given the high quality of the material, it is unfortunate that the publisher did not choose to offer a higher quality of binding. Even so, this valuable resource is highly recommended for larger public and academic libraries.