Check out this month's On the Web links, your connection to earth science friendly Web sites. The popular Geomedia feature now available by topic.
Living with Earthquakes in California: a Survivors Guide
On the Shelf:
Mapping tsunami risk in Alaska
Scientific journal for vadose zone
Geoquotes -- our newest Geomedia feature!
|Living with Earthquakes in California:
a Survivors Guide
by Robert S. Yeats. Oregon State University Press (2001). ISBN 0-87071-493.7. Paperback, $21.95.8.
Robert H. Sydnor
With its 33 million citizens and 182-plus active faults, California is highly
vulnerable to earthquake damage. This book fills an acute need for a reliable
compendium of seismology information that is both scholarly and lucid. Living
with Earthquakes in California is a well-written narrative that would be
warmly received by both professional geologists and California citizens who
are constructively concerned about seismic safety.
The book reflects more than three decades of field geology experience in California by the author. Robert S. Yeats is professor emeritus of geology at Oregon State University, and has written a number of textbooks and seminal papers in neotectonics, regional geology and petroleum geology. He has supervised several dozen theses and dissertations in the western Transverse Ranges of California and the Los Angeles Basin. Yeats began his career as a petroleum geologist for Shell Oil Co. and gained a vast knowledge of the structural geology of deep sedimentary basins in California. In the second half of his career in academia, he adroitly combined these unique insights in petroleum geology with his knowledge of Quaternary geology to advance the science of neotectonics, engineering geology and applied seismology.
The book is divided into four parts: Part 1 recounts three centuries of people and earthquakes in California. Part 2 includes eight chapters on geologic time, plate tectonics, earthquake basics, the San Andreas fault, the Transverse Ranges, significant earthquakes in eastern California and other rural areas, the Cascadia subduction zone, and earthquake forecasting. Part 3 contains two short chapters on seismic shaking (rock vs. soil), and on tsunamis. Part 4 concludes with seven chapters on prevention and countermeasures: earthquake insurance, home preparedness, earthquake design of large structures, federal support of earthquake research, the role of the California Geological Survey and preparing for the next earthquake. This final chapter, An Uncertain Appointment with a Restless Earth, is a clarion call to action. The span of earthquake information in the books 406 pages is profound. It reflects considerable effort by the author to marshal an entire library of geologic knowledge and distill it into a single sourcebook for California seismic safety that is reliable and readable.
Yeats has included a useful bibliography featuring Web site addresses for sources of seismic safety information, government agencies, professional geology and seismology societies, and universities. Literature citations occupy eight pages, including both seismology journal articles and popular books for the general reader. The seven pages of detailed credits reveal the underlying strength of the book. To gain reliable, first-hand information, Yeats corresponded with a legion of geologists, seismologists, government officials, actuaries and seismic safety planners. He generously credits his professional colleagues with their specific contributions.
Geologists and seismologists will find that Living with Earthquakes in California fills in the gaps in their knowledge of earthquakes, seismic safety planning and tectonic geomorphology. The vivid narrative includes the human sides of the geologists and seismologists who worked diligently in the past century their insights, their mistakes and setbacks, and their victories in the face of adversity.
Professors will find inspiring and colorful field-geology stories that can be reliably retold in the lecture hall. (Example: How geologists in the United States and Japan came to realize that the giant, magnitude-9 Cascadia earthquake last occurred about 9 p.m. on Jan. 26, 1700; see pages 159 through 175 for a riveting narrative.)
The general public will be informed on compelling reasons for earthquake insurance (chapter 11), and will find useful guidelines about cost-effective structural retrofits and prescient repairs (chapter 12).
Elected government officials will find this book to be valuable for comprehensive background briefing prior to voting on seismic safety issues.
Lastly, the books price is right. The California Geological Survey has sold this book in its booth at national geoscience conventions, so it comes highly recommended for professional geologists and the public alike.
by Philippe Bourseiller and Jacques Durieux, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers
(2002), ISBN 0-810-91699-1. Hardcover, $34.97.
This oversized volume may be the ultimate geologic coffee-table book. It features 170, two-page-spread images by photographer Bourseiller of the worlds active volcanoes and their impacts on humans. Originally published in French, this English-language version also includes a series of short thematic essays by Durieux.
Geology, ninth edition by Charles C. Plummer, David McGeary and Diane
H. Carlson, McGraw Hill Higher Education (2002), ISBN 0-07-240246-6. Hardcover,
As is fast becoming the norm, the newest edition of this best-selling physical geology textbook written by three professors at California State University at Sacramento is accompanied by a Web site with additional text, exercises, and animations.
Starting this fall, the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is launching
the Vadose Zone Journal, in cooperation with the Geological Society of America
and with support from the Environmental Chemistry Division of the American Chemical
Society. This all-electronic, peer-reviewed, international journal will provide
an avenue for interdisciplinary research and assessment of the vadose zone,
the mostly unsaturated zone between the soil surface and the permanent groundwater
The scientific community has an increasing need for effective dissemination of information about the physical, chemical and biological processes operating in this zone. Currently no scientific journal focuses specifically on the vadose zone. The mission of the Vadose Zone Journal is to fill this gap.
Several years ago a number of soil physicists in SSSA recognized the growing importance of vadose zone issues, says Robert Luxmoore, past president of SSSA.
Many soil scientists had expanded beyond investigation of surface soil to address issues such as groundwater contamination, cleanup of buried waste sites and water resource management.
Growing human populations, along with their requirements for building materials, energy, minerals, water resources and effective waste disposal systems, have created multi-dimensional challenges for government agencies responsible for land management. The research and assessment needs of the vadose zone have grown in response to the pressure of increasing human impacts. The multidisciplinary dimensions of many vadose zone issues brought realization that a new publication could provide a much-needed outlet for a diverse range of scientists and engineers.
More than 30 original research papers and reviews have been submitted and accepted for the inaugural issue of the Vadose Zone Journal, to be posted online this month. The stories range from: The Impact of Climate Change on the Chemical Composition of Deep Vadose Zone Waters, to Fluid Flow, Heat Transfer and Solute Transport at Nuclear Waste Storage Tanks in the Hanford Vadose Zone, to Dynamic Effect in the Capillary Pressure-Saturation Relationship and Its Impacts on Unsaturated Flow.
The quarterly Vadose Zone Journal will disseminate information to facilitate science-based decision making and sustainable management of the vadose zone, including topics on variably saturated fluid flow, heat and mass transport, transport in fractured media, capillary barrier design, multicomponent transport, fate and transport of microorganisms, biogeochemical transformations, and bioremediation. The journal will also address yet-to-be-resolved issues, such as how to quantify heterogeneity of subsurface processes and properties, and how to couple physical, chemical and biological processes across a range of spatial scales from the molecular to the global.
It is pleasing to see the Vadose Zone Journal become a reality, says editor Martinus Rien van Genuchten. Many of us long recognized the need for a journal dedicated to multidisciplinary research and assessment of the vadose zone that bridges areas covered traditionally by soil scientists, hydrologists, geologists, petroleum engineers, chemical engineers and atmospheric scientists.
The journals international editorial board has 34 members, including an editor for book reviews and another for executive summaries. Serving as editor is van Genuchten, research leader of the U.S. Department of Agricultures (USDA) Soil Physics and Pesticide Research Unit, and acting director of the USDA George E. Brown Jr. Salinity Laboratory. Genuchten is a fellow of the SSSA and the American Geophysical Union and is known for his constitutive models for the hydraulic properties of unsaturated porous media.
The journal uses electronic procedures for the entire publishing process, from submission to review to publication. The first issue will be available at online through Stanford Universitys HighWire Press. Each article will be available online with cross-references to the societys other journals, as subject collections search, as searchable archives and as a printable PDF. Free trial access to the Journal is available through December 2002. Visit the Vadose Zone Journal Web site to learn more about the journal, to register for free access or to view the submission guidelines.
Richard Smith at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho says he has been collecting geoquotes for a long time. This months GeoQuotes is a compilation of some of his favorites:
Go my Sons, buy stout shoes, climb the mountains, search the valleys, the deserts, the sea shores, and the deep recesses of the earth...for in this way and in no other will you arrive at a knowledge of the nature and properties of things.
P. Severinus, 1778
Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.
Sedimentary rocks are to real rocks as sawdust is to trees.
J.P. Iddings, 1895
The marriage of Pele, goddess of earth and fire, and Kamapuaa, god of water, was short and violent. In a rage she routed him from her crater of fire and chased him with streams of lava into the sea.
Ancient Hawaiian Legend
Do you have a favorite Geoquote? Please share it with us. Send one by letter
to: Geoquotes, Geotimes, 4220 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302 or by e-mail
with the subject Geoquotes.
Back to top