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Waking the Giant: How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Volcanoes Hardcover – May 16, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199592268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199592265
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.9 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,521,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...Clear and easy to follow...McGuire lays a strong foundation for thinking about the impact of global warming on the stability of the Earth's crust." -- Kirkus Reviews

"The author succeeds at interpreting complex earth science into compelling reading for a popular audience. Anyone with an interest in climate change, geology, and atmospheric science will enjoy this work." - Library Journal

"McGuire's argument adds a whole new dimension to why we should be worried about climate change" - Yale Environment 360

"brilliant science writer" - The Guardian

"Shocking! And stimulating! Yes, and definitely worth a read." -- Choice

About the Author

Bill McGuire is Professor of Geophysical and Climate Hazards at University College London. His books include Surviving Armageddon: Solutions for a Threatened Planet and most recently Seven Years to Save the Planet.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Bill McGuire is a British scientist who has worked on climate affecting geological threats. Much of his emphasis is on the Indian Ocean tsunami and the volcanic ash from Iceland's volcanos. Even though the cover has a picture of the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan in 2011, this is not covered as extensively. In the index it is not listed under tsunamis, but earthquakes and tsunamis. This is one example of how some things have to be searched for in a couple places before you find them in the index. There is an extensive list of further readings and resources. Much of the emphasis is on the United Kingdom, double decker buses are used as a measurement and conkers is not explained. A map showing what would happen if all the ice melted only shows the UK.

The subtitle of the book can be a bit misleading. It states: `How a changing climate triggers earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanos.' With the title `Waking the Sleeping Giant', a reader might expect that this would deal mostly with theories and examples of the present day and future. It is only in the last 40 pages of the book that these theories are covered.
Most of the book deals with the geological history of the planet, not really completely relating to his theories. His explanations are not too technical for the most part, but can be complicated by his many examples. At times there are just so many variations in history to show much proof on his theory.
Sometimes statements are not explained fully. For example: "while a volcano also responds to other factors and erupts at other times of the year... at times when the wave of deformation that is constantly traversing our planet in response to annual variations in the hydrological cycle reaches its vicinity." The reader is left to translate that on their own.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By William E. Marks on October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been researching and writing about water for over forty years, and have a library of over 600 books dealing with water and/or the environment.
In my opinion, this book is a well written fascinating read, and I have recommended this book to many of my friends and professional peers.

The book's author, Bill McGuire, has deepened my knowledge of various ice ages and sea level changes throughout the evolution of our planet.

The theme flowing throughout the book is an exploration relative to the potential impacts of our human anthropogenic influences on weather; sea level; volcanic activity; climate change; glacier and polar ice melting, and other changes that may threaten survival of human civilization and other life forms. To that end, this book is successful in opening our minds to historical geological data - especially, data that documents historic atmospheric scenarios similar to what we have today.

I also enjoyed learning about: the volcanic eruption from 74,000 years ago that almost caused the extinction of our human race; how the moon and sun push and pull on our tectonic plates; the new measurement scale for earthquakes; how dams cause earthquakes; how earthquakes occur when ice pressure is removed; history of how water causes mega landslides on land and beneath the ocean; how 10 to 50 times the quantity of water in our Earth's oceans is locked deep in our planet's interior; how volatile and destructive methane gas, locked in gas hydrates beneath ice and oceans, can virtually change our Earth's climate overnight.

Regardless of one's background - if you want to get an overview of climate change and global warming, and see through the garbage being circulated by today's special interests and television's uninformed and manipulated talking heads - READ THIS BOOK.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Pletko on January 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover

"This [book] is NOT intended as a speculative rant based upon...hearsay, unfounded data, and unverifiable observation, but a straightforward presentation of what we know about how [the Earth's] climate and the geosphere [or the solid Earth] interact, combined with informed discussion about what implications such knowledge may hold for the [Earth's] future.

Inevitably, some conjecture is involved, but firmly grounded...in sound, peer-reviewed science."

The above extract comes from the preface of this fantastically informative book by Bill McGuire. He is Professor of Geophysical and Climate Hazards at University College, London. McGuire is also a science author and broadcaster.

The author tells us that the theme of his book is the "potentially hazardous response of the Earth's crust [to anthropogenic or human-caused warming] or "how abrupt and rapid climate changes drive the responses of the solid Earth."

And what are these Earth responses? As the subtitle of this book states, these responses are earthquakes, tsunamis (or tidal waves), and volcanoes. There are also other responses detailed in this book.

Using evidence accumulated from studies of the Earth's history as well as evidence from current observations and modeling, McGuire argues that we ignore at our own risk the threats posed by climate change and the waking giant (that is, the Earth) beneath our feet.

Here is this book's final paragraph:

"Through our climate-changing activities we are loading the dice in favour of increased geological mayhem at a time when we can most do without it. Unless there is a dramatic and...
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