Synopses & Reviews
For centuries, Californians and the Japanese have known that they were at risk of catastrophic earthquakes, and prepared accordingly. But when a violent 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti in 2010, hardly anyone knew the island nation was even at risk for disaster, and, tragically, no one was prepared. Over 300,000 people died as buildings that had never been designed to withstand such intense shaking toppled over and crushed their inhabitants. Now, scientists warn that it won't be long before a single, catastrophic quake kills one million people - and that it is going to strike right where we least expect it. In this groundbreaking book, renowned seismologist with the British Geological Survey Roger Musson takes us on an exhilarating journey to explore what scientists and engineers are doing to prepare us for the worst. With riveting tales of the scientists who first cracked the mystery of what causes the ground to violently shake, Musson makes plain the powerful geological forces driving earthquakes and tsunamis, and shows how amazing feats of engineering are making our cities earthquake-proof. Highlighting hotspots around the world from Mexico City to New York this is a compelling scientific adventure into nature at its fiercest.
"Could the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 have been predicted and 300,000 deaths prevented? Answering this pressing question with an informative but lackluster study, seismologist and geologist Musson says that prediction is still a challenge, but preventing deaths is within our reach. 'Earthquakes don't kill people, buildings do' is one chapter title. As cities grow into megacities with cheaply constructed buildings, the odds of a million-death earthquake increase. Musson explains the geological forces that cause earthquakes and the three criteria for measuring the risk of damage: hazard, the chance that shaking will occur in a given place; exposure, how much can be damaged from an earthquake; and vulnerability, a measure of how strong or weak buildings are in the stricken area. As cities continue to grow, planners must consider how buildings are constructed. Musson offers suggestions on how a building's shape (irregular rather than square), materials (lighter rather than heavier), and engineering (testing design ideas with 'artificial' earthquakes) can make it less likely to cause deaths. Musson counsels that it is everyone's responsibility to prepare to respond by, for instance, knowing to turn gas off and remain outdoors and away from buildings after an earthquake. Illus." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Scientists can predict a volcanic eruption weeks in advance of the event, and can forecast a blizzard days before it happens. Tornadoes can be detected hours before they hit. But there is still no warning system for earthquakes, though millions live in danger zones and many millions have died in recent history as a result of them. In The Million Death Quake, British Geological Survey seismologist Roger Musson takes us on a riveting journey through earthquakes. After making plain the science behind quakes, he tackles how engineers are fighting to make our cities "earthquake-proof" and seismologists are searching for the signs hidden in nature that could be interpreted as warnings. Highlighting hotspots around the world from Bucharest to the Azores, and with the massive Haiti and Japan earthquakes still in recent memory, this is a fascinating exploration of the strangest and most violent of natural disasters.
About the Author
Roger Musson is the Head of Seismic Hazard and Archives at the British Geological Survey, where he is the chief spokesman to the media after any major earthquake, including The Guardian, The Sunday Post, and The Telegraph. He has written op-eds for The New York Times, is a regular contributor to Fortean Times, and was interviewed by Time magazine after the Haiti earthquake. He has appeared on a variety of documentaries, including the National Geographic Channel. Musson is also on the editorial board for the Journal of Seismology, the Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, and Natural Hazards. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.