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Volcanoes of the World: A Regional Directory, Gazetteer, and Chronology of Volcanism During the Last 10,000 Years Hardcover – January 1, 1994

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Editorial Reviews


Here is everything you could possibly want to know about every volcano you ever heard of (and some you haven't) on this planet, at least. This data-packed update of the earlier edition catalogs 7900 eruptions of 1521 volcanoes active over the past 10,000 years. It also contains many more maps and illustrations than the first edition....

This is a no-nonsense reference book that should be on the shelf of any serious volcanophile, and in every geology or earth science library. If you can afford only one global volcano reference book, this should be it. -- Volcano Quarterly, 08/95

Smithsonian Institution volcanologists summarize 1,511 volcanoes active in the last 10,000 years, examining the technical specifications of the activity and providing a regional description of local terrain, history, and tectonics. The technical statistics and data herein will appeal to college-level collections strong in advanced sciences. -- Midwest Book Review

The Volcano Reference File maintained by the Smithsonian Institution forms the basis for this exhaustive directory-cum-history of volcanic activity world-wide. Its introductory sections explain how eruption data has been compiled from centuries-old historical records and evidence preserved in tree rings, ice cores, lake sediments, and other natural phenomena. The directory itself, organized by geographic regions, starts in Europe and works its way eastward to North America and then southward to Antarctica. A map at the beginning of each geographic section identifies volcanoes' locations; the directory situates each of the regions's volcanoes by latitude and longitude, identifies its type, and provides a historical record of each of its known or inferred eruptions. Small type packs in data on eruptions, including year of each eruption, start and stop dates of activity, and a table indicating effects on topography, nearby or surrounding ocean, and life. A chronology of eruptions reaches from prehistoric times to December 1993, and a gazetteer lists both volcanoes and their subsidiary features, such as cones, domes, and craters. A concluding bibliography, organized by region, makes this the most complete handbook of volcanic history and activity available. its absence from geoscie- nce collections will be as conspicuous as a crater. -- Wilson Library Bulletin, 06/1995

From the Back Cover

Here is an outstanding collection of information by Smithsonian Institution volcanologists summarizing 1,511 volcanoes active in the last 10,000 years--including coordinates, heights, types, known eruptive histories, and behavioral characteristics. Each region is introduced with a detailed map and a short description of its geography, history, and tectonic setting.

From 8,000 BC through 1993, nearly 8,000 eruptions are arranged in chronolog- ical order, with date, duration volume, and explosive magnitude listed in a tabular format. A gazetteer cross-references more than 10,000 volcano names, feature names, and synonyms. An extensive bibliography lists sources chronologically by region.

This volume is an important reference of special interest to volcanologists, historians, anthropologists, hazard specialists, geothermal researchers, climatol- ogists, and anyone else interested in natural events that have impacted our planet in the last few thousand years.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 349 pages
  • Publisher: Geoscience Press; 2 Sub edition (January 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0945005121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0945005124
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 9.2 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,227,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Jerald R Lovell on March 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of a kind. I don't understand how anyone who likes volcanoes and volcanic phenomena could not go wild with this book.
The book gives the location and height of each of the 1,511 volcanoes known to have been active in the last 10,000 years. A few more have been discovered since the 1993 publication date, but this defect can be easily remedied by recourse to the GVP link on the Net. More importantly, each known eruption is described by date, duration and explosive power. Also, each eruption of each mountain, no matter how many, has its chief characteristics set out, including type of eruption and fatalities and damage, if any.
The book contains copious footnotes for the serious reader and a thorough general discussion at the start. Interesting black and white photos and drawing are occasionally found as well. The total accumulation of presented data is immense. However, anyone with a moderate scientific background will not be overwhelmed.
Residents of the Western U.S. and Canada should read the history of these regions with particular care, since the book shows eruptive patterns and locations of many underpublicized volcanic areas with great precision. This enables informed decision-making in the event of the next activity of any of these features.
The only parallel I can find in any other book is The Baseball Encyclopedia. If you want to know anything about a given volcano, it's probably here. For the interested reader in geology, it is essential, and for the volcano "geek", it is Nirvana. I've had it for over three years and I still peruse it regularly.
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Format: Hardcover
Given the high price of this book, I borrowed and read the 1981 edition from the library. I realize that the one here is 13 years newer, although it is also 16 years old as of this writing. By the way, I am not a geologist or volcanologist - just a regular person interested in science and understanding of natural phenomena.

The intro, or the first 20 pages or so, are relatively interesting reading although for the most part they just explain how the data in the rest of the book is laid out. The rest of the book (majority) is taken up by dense lists and tables of data, which is very dry reading, to put it mildly. Having maps as well as statistical tables for various properties of volcanoes in a given region would have made this a much more interesting and digestible book, but alas this wasn't the case.

The data in my edition was only up to 1980. At least it covers Mt Saint Helens :) Yellowstone is considered a geyser causing volcano instead of a supervolcano. There are no known VEI 8 eruptions mentioned. Clearly, the level of scientific thinking was not as developed as it is today. Perhaps the 1994 edition fares better, although it seems that some of the supercaldera thinking dates from around 2000.

In sum, I found the book uninteresting. I won't give it less than 3 stars though, since there is nothing really wrong with the book.

Unless you are a volcanologist, I see no reason to buy this book. Even if you are a volcanologist, there must be more up to date sources than this.
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