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Super Volcano: The Ticking Time Bomb Beneath Yellowstone National Park Paperback – February 15, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Science writer and author Breining (Return of the Eagle) gives readers a solid introduction to modern volcanology in this look at "super volcanoes" in general (those that "have expelled at least 1,000 cubic kilometers of magma... all at once") and the Yellowstone caldera-"potentially the most explosive, most violent, most deadly active volcano on the planet"-in particular. Most readers will be astonished to learn that 2.1 million years ago, the area that is now Yellowstone National Park burst "with the force of hundreds of thousands" of Hiroshima-sized explosions; more surprising is that the site is past due for another, possibly larger eruption. Breining has done a public service by bringing these hazards to light with straight-forward writing and a well-organized text, clearly explaining complicated, violent geological processes without ignoring the awe-inspiring beauty of volcanic landscapes. He also includes the history of geological studies in Yellowstone, the critically important field of plate tectonics and what kind of fossils are generated by sudden, magma-induced death. Reviewing the largest known eruptions, Breining enumerates still-active threats to populations in Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Naples, Italy and, of course, the U.S. Bolstered by clearly laid-out maps, Breining's talent for elucidating complex phenomena makes this one of the best books on volcanoes a general reader can hope for.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

PW Web Excusive Online reviews

“Science writer and author Breining (Return of the Eagle) gives readers a solid introduction to modern volcanology in this look at ‘super volcanoes’ in general … and the Yellowstone caldera … Breining has done a public service by bringing these hazards to light with straight-forward writing and a well-organized text, clearly explaining complicated, violent geological processes without ignoring the awe-inspiring beauty of volcanic landscapes … Bolstered by clearly laid-out maps, Breining’s talent for elucidating complex phenomena makes this one of the best books on volcanoes a general reader can hope for.”

Choice, March 2008
Super Volcano
captures the essence, the excitement, and the deep and far-reaching influence of the world's greatest heat anomaly.  Breining writes for the layperson with enthusiasm and informality, bringing the subjects to life...A rare read! Highly recommended".



BOOK NEWS Inc, December 2007

“Using field research and interviews with geologists and a paleontologist, Breining, an environmental and travel writer, reveals the truth about the Yellowstone super volcano.”



Bookwormsez syndicated column, December 2007

“This book is fascinating and scary all at once and your recipients will gush over it.”


Review in Choice, March 1, 2008 (Circ.: 3,050 - Written for librarians. Contains critical, concise reviews of books suitable for college and university library collections)

 Fascination with Yellowstone grows and grows as we learn more about the history, the present situation, and the inevitable developments in near and distant future time. Super Volcano captures the essence, the excitement, and the deep and far-reaching influence of the world's greatest heat anomaly. Sections of this concise and easily readable book include 1) descriptions of volcanic activity, thermal springs, strange ecosystems, and earthquakes; 2) geological uniqueness and comparisons with other volcanic areas; 3) little-known and far-distant effects of Yellowstone eruptions of great relevance to humanity; 4) other super volcanoes in recent geologic time (Yellowstone is the fourth-largest known); and 5) prospects and circumstances of the next big blast from Yellowstone. Breining writes for the layperson with enthusiasm and informality, bringing the subjects to life with copious quotes from naturalists, field leaders, and volcanologists. Yellowstone and other super volcanoes are considered in terms of plate tectonics, evolution of scientific insights into the natural world, and--extremely important and underappreciated--impacts on the history and survival capabilities of humanity. A rare read! Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels. -- T. L.T. Grose, Colorado School of Mines

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Voyageur Press; First edition (February 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760336547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760336540
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #570,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The authors researched very well.
Sara Howard
The author leans toward verbosity and is a bit florid, but not excessively so.
T. Rehfeldt
An interesting book to read to understand about the volcano Yellowstone.
Judith A. Whelan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By T. Rehfeldt on August 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Super Volcano
The Ticking Bomb Beneath Yellowstone National Park

If you know nothing about volcanoes, plate tectonics, or geologic history, then this book is a reasonable, basic, and accessible introduction. The author leans toward verbosity and is a bit florid, but not excessively so. But if you are interested in the geology of Yellowstone Park then there are better places to look.

The sub-title is "The Ticking Time Bomb Beneath Yellowstone National Park". This is why I bought this book and why I was disappointed. Only one chapter (less than 25%) deals with the relevant geology and that at a very low level. One chapter concentrates on the human history of Yellowstone where the geology is incidental. There is an overlong chapter on the history of plate tectonics and the rest of the book, by far the majority, is simply a catalog of volcanic eruptions through history (and even at that he misses Novarupta, AK in 1912, the biggest of the 20th century and Mt. Etna, Sicily, in eruption since 2001). The volume of ash and magma, the number of casualties, and social affects are reported in great detail. This is not uninteresting in itself, but is hardly geology. The attitude throughout is rather 'Gee Whiz' than scientific. In fact there is very little science in the book at all. There is not a diagram of a typical volcano let alone a super volcano. There is little about the mechanism of geysers and even less on fumaroles. And, in fact, he uses a rather limited definition for 'caldera'. This makes for a nice campfire story but is not very enlightening.

On top of that the book loses a star for design. It has a plethora of the annoying insertions so prevalent in magazines; a sentence of two from the text is enclosed in a box and scattered at random throughout.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ann Logue on November 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Review by Rik Lantz, R.G. on Ann Logue's Amazon account: This was a very interesting book and a nice, thorough discussion of hot spot volcanism. The book gave me a good appreciation that the hot spot that created the Snake River Basalt flows and Yellowstone is still down there cooking away and could cause another major volcanic event with profound consequences for the area, North America, and the world.

Mr. Breining does a nice job of describing some complex phenomena in plain English and making them accessible to the layman. I thought he did a very good job of describing what happens during an eruption and the hazards of ash falls and climate alteration in addition to the more immediately obvious effects of pyroclastic eruptions and lava flows. I felt that he didn't do as good a job of describing why these hot spots would remain stationary in the mantle, which by all accounts is moving around as much as the crust, but perhaps that's because it's not very well understood in the first place. Explanations of other phenomena were direct, concise, and understandable, but the discussion of hot spots stood out to me because it was not very cogent or convincing in comparison. I would have liked to see him explore the link between volcanism and climate more thoroughly.

I enjoyed his description of the Ashfall Fossil Beds in Nebraska, and how they demonstrate that volcanic events can have far-reaching consequences for animals half a continent away. The description of how fine ash affects a faunal assemblage and helps explain the sequence in which they die, and thus which ones are on top, was fascinating. I'm going to have to stop and check the place out next time I drive through Nebraska.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sam Beasley on October 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you don't know anything about geology or volcanos, fear not. This book, written by a respected Twin Cities travel author, is very well researched and written in concise, entertaining, plain talk. I am a geologist with a fascination for such things as Yellowstone, but I truely despise authors who publish papers so calcified with 25-cent words that it looks as though they consulted William F. Buckley for an editor. Thankfully, such is not the case here. Breining does all the work and you reap all the rewards easily.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By talesenicole on November 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read several well-written books about volcanism in Yellowstone National Park, and really looked forward to reading yet another one. However, I was very, very disappointed.

The reading is slow-paced, very elementary. I was expecting a slightly more scientific approach, but the author basically just quotes Doss the whole time and re-enacts the experience of the class he took in Yellowstone. The language is simple, plain and quite boring in some parts, the excerpted quotes are out of place and just kind of throw you off, since they're just randomly placed in the middle of paragraphs or pages.

If you know nothing of YNP and want just a simple, easy read, this is the book. For those wanting a more scientific read, I suggest something else. This will bore you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sara Howard VINE VOICE on March 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The authors researched very well. It is an informative read. Educational even if you don't know geology. An easy explained look at Yellowstone, the Supervolcano that is the biggest hazard in North America. Many tourists and their children visit Yellowstone National Park to see the bears and wildlife. They haven't a clue that they are walking on the ground of a Supervolcano.

The authors take the reader on a great journey of discovery and explain the mysteries of Yellowstone. I have been to Yellowstone and saw the fumeroles and geysers, not knowing they were powered by an enormous lava chamber below. I think every citizen should read this book and learn about Yellowstone. While an eruption doesn't seem to be imminent, everyone should be aware of this enormous threat.

Sara Howard, Author of "Something Funny Happened on The Way to The Moon" and "The Biggest Explosions in The Universe".
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