The Million Death Quake The Science of Predicting Earth's Deadliest Natural Disaster

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-10-16
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
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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.

Author Biography

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.

Table of Contents

"Roger Musson has written a sobering assessment of the global hazards posed by earthquakes. He gives us an eloquent grounding in seismology based on science and history and confronts the questions of prediction and survival with balanced honesty. Buy a copy of this essential book and read it again and again."--Brian Fagan, author of Elixir: A History of Water and Humankind and The Little Ice Age

"The Million Death Quake is an entertaining history of earthquakes, with both compelling stories of some of the deadliest disasters of all time and stories of how scientists very slowly came to understand what causes them.  The author provides very clear scientific explanations of earthquakes and of the reasons why we still cannot predict them.  Throughout the book Musson puts the entire subject in very human terms, emphasizing especially the important factor of population vulnerability.  Because we cannot predict earthquakes our only progress in reducing earthquake deaths has been through improved building construction.  But many densely populated cities lack such building improvements on a large enough scale, making possible the potential disaster that gives this book its title."--Bruce Parker, The Power of the Sea

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