- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Pegasus Books; 1 edition (February 15, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1605984957
- ISBN-13: 978-1605984957
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #996,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Earthquake Storms: The Fascinating History and Volatile Future of the San Andreas Fault 1st Edition
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Most of us have heard of the San Andreas Fault, but we don’t know much about it, beyond the fact that it’s a big fault line in California. Author Dvorak capably fills in the blanks. Plate tectonics gave us the fault, the North American plate rubbing up against the Pacific basin plate and causing a fracture in the planet’s surface from one end of California to the other. And here’s the really troubling thing: California, known for its sometimes very severe quakes, hasn’t experienced one like the San Francisco quake in 1906 for about a century. The state, Dvorak warns, is overdue for something called an earthquake storm—a series of quakes, triggered by a single massive event, spreading out over a large geographic area and playing out over several years. This is a relatively new seismological theory about earthquakes, and how much readers accept about Dvorak’s book depends on their willingness to accept a theory that is still in the early stages of development. Still, this is a fascinating look at what could be in store for the country if proponents of the theory are correct. --David Pitt
“Much of their enlightenment occurred in California, and the author turns up half a dozen intrepid, eccentric and largely unknown geologists (Grove Gilbert, Andrew Lawson, Charles Richter, Harry Fielding Reid) whose insights began to converge after the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake. A fine popular primer on the subject, lucidly written and no more technical than necessary.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“Dvorak has done earthquake science sterling service by writing what is unarguably the best, the most comprehensive and compellingly readable book about the great fault, America's 800 mile long seismic danger zone, that will one day affect all of our lives.”
- Simon Winchester, New York Times Bestselling author of The Crack at the Edge of the World and Krakatoa
“A welcome addition. Its chief strength lies in combining the lives and personalities of key geologists and seismologists, such as Lawson, Charles Richter, John Tuzo Wilson and Kerry Sieh, with the theoretical essentials and practical details of their scientific work, so that the former really do illuminate the latter.”
- Geoscientist Magazine
“A lively key to understanding the nature of faults, quakes, the San Andreas in particular, and the scientists who made stormy careers out of investigating some of the most elusive geologic mysteries in history.”
- Midwest Book Review
“A massive earthquake is overdue at the southern end of the San Andreas Fault. Conditions are right for the Big One to hit a 100-mile segment of the fault that would be felt from San Diego to Los Angeles. But the problem is being able to pinpoint when the quake may strike. . . .”
“The real strength of Earthquake Storms is the clear and comprehensive treatment of geology as well as history, and offers a fascinating up-close look at the often overlooked people and stories behind science. Lastly, the book leaves readers in California with a bottom line as sobering as it is unassailable: We might not know exactly what storms lie ahead, but during all of our lifetimes, we have only ever known the lull.”
- Susan Hough, former director of the Seismology Laboratory at CalTech, EARTH Magazine
“Eventually such a release will result in a major earthquake. Dvorak posits that the last 100 years in California have been relatively quiet seismologically, but he notes other major fault systems, such as in Turkey, that were quiet for a period and then released their accumulated stress in a series of major earthquakes―a seismic storm. These storms can last for decades or centuries until the stress is released; the San Andreas Fault may be ripe for such a series. A must read for earthquake buffs―and West Coast residents.”
- Library Journal
“Scientist and author John Dvorak recounts California’s precarious relationship with the tectonic boundary between the Pacific and North American plates. Recommended follow-up reading for all Californians includes any manual on surviving the end of civilization or the zombie apocalypse.”
- Los Angeles Magazine
“Earthquake Storms reads like good sci-fi, with colorful characters making startling discoveries.”
- The Honolulu Star
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My other beef was the author's utter lack of knowledge on the oil industry. His few comments and stories indicate that he really didn't talk to anyone who knows the industry, or read any of the many books on the topic or the geophysics used, a topic of special interest for this book, since earthquake detection and ground motion studies are integral to many aspects of the industry. Since he didn't mind lifting entire chunks from other people's books in order to write this one (including the venerable Amos Nur, a "god" in the geophysical world), why didn't he have one proper source for the petroleum industry? For example, hydraulic fracturing does not target kerogen. Kerogen is a precursor of mature hydrocarbon.
Otherwise, I enjoyed the book, especially the chapter he lifted from his intro to the John McPhee book, and the summary of Amos Nur's book. I found my own maps, followed his descriptions of his own experience on the outcrop - my personal favorite part his book, and plan to visit some of these outcrops myself. His interview on NPR was quite interesting and it is what led me to download the book to my Kindle. I hope there is a 2nd edition and Mr. Dvorak's editor lets him put some maps in the book and fix some of the mistakes when he strays off topic.
HOWEVER... there are absolutely no maps, charts , diagrams, or photographs whatsoever. Having lived in Northern California my entire life I was able to blunder my way through the hundreds of references to locations around the Western United States. But for someone not familiar with this vast region, the book would be worthless without additional resources. A very technical book on geology without any illustrative graphics? I don’t understand how this could be.
I note that in another review someone refers to photographs in the book. My Kindle edition had absolutely no graphics of any kind. Perhaps someone screwed up when converting this book to an eBook.