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The Million Death Quake: The Science of…

The Million Death Quake: The Science of Predicting Earth's Deadliest…

by Roger Musson

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This book wasn't what I expected from the title. I expected to read about where the great quake was expected to occur and possibly what we could do to prevent catastrophic death count, however, what I got was a book about the causes of earthquakes, identification of areas that are prone to large magnitude earthquakes, and the explanation of the measurements and what they mean. Disappointing. ( )
  cyderry | Aug 21, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I think a better title for this book would be its subtitle, “The Science of Predicting Earth’s Deadliest Natural Disaster” because the bulk of this work is just that – the science of earthquakes. Written by British Geological Survey seismologist Roger Musson, the book describes the different types of earthquakes and how they happen, how they’re detected and rated by intensity, and how the effects can cause damage to both natural and man-made structures and environments. I found it to be an interesting, concise, and well-illustrated scientific and historical work and record. ( )
2 vote rybie2 | Apr 18, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a nice history and overview of earthquakes, how they are caused, how people have perceived them over the centuries, how people study them and quantify them, and probably most importantly, how to minimize damage and loss of life resulting from them.

The author is good at describing his field in a way that non-seismologists can understand, using simple examples such as bending a plastic ruler with your hands to get a concept about how earthquakes work. His writing style is simple and easy to read.

I am a member of a neighborhood emergency team. It's a program that my city funds and conducts training for, teaching you how to do things like turn off gas and water mains, check buildings for survivors, deal with medical emergencies, etc. The main reason my city (Portland, Oregon) is doing this is apparently because we (or, probably more accurately, our coastline, which is less than 100 miles west of us) are at risk of the most damaging kind of earthquake, a subduction zone earthquake where one tectonic plate moves under or on top of another one. We had some basic training on earthquakes which was mostly geared towards individual actions you can take to be prepared for such an event (earthquake proofing your house, keeping flashlights handy, having a food stash and water stash in the event of supply being cut, etc). This was one of the reasons I asked for this book - I wanted to better understand earthquakes. I feel like it served that purpose very well.

The reason I am not giving this book more than 3 1/2 stars is that I found the writing to be a bit repetitive at times (how many times does the author have to say "predictions are hard especially about the future"?) and the middle chapters were sort of hard for me to get through, which is why it took me so many moons to review it. But, I am very glad I read it, and I plan to pass it on to others on my team who will be interested in the topic. ( )
1 vote anna_in_pdx | Feb 9, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Layman's guide to understanding the science behind earthquakes. Written in highly accessible style, the author goes to great lengths to makes things understandable. Interesting review of historical events that added to the developing science explaining earthquakes. Final section on what should this mean for us today was lacking. Recommended for anyone living in an active earthquake zone who wishes to more accurately assess the risks. ( )
1 vote BookWallah | Dec 30, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Million Death Quake by Roger Musson is not alarmist (despite the title); it is not dry; it is not for other people somewhere else. It is eminently readable and useful for us all, and covers all of the bases.

What do you want to know about earthquakes? What causes them, why I should care (if I don’t live in California) and how to understand the Richter Scale notations in the news. Also, what have we learned in the last hundred years, and why can’t we predict them better? Musson answers it all.

The core strength of this book lies in how well it is organized. It builds from simple basics to more complex concepts, and uses anecdotes of live history along the way. While Musson supplies all the scientific terms and facts, he never gets boring. I imagine him to be just like the “Mr. Wonder” type of guy hosting a children or young-adult television science program who hits the right chord for viewers (readers) of all ages.

I would have enjoyed many more graphics and pictures to illustrate both the anecdotes and the concepts, though his written explanations were quite clear. In fact Musson’s chief talent does seem to be clarity, allowing the reader to get to know and share his passion along with him. He’s the kind of author one would like to invite over to dinner. ( )
  highland65 | Dec 17, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0230119417, Hardcover)

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.


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:43 -0400)

"People have weeks of warning prior to volcanic eruptions, days of warning before a blizzard, and hours of warning before tornadoes. But there is still no warning system at all for earthquakes, though they have killed millions, and millions more live in constant danger from 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 sign hidden in nature that could be interpreted as a warning. Highlighting hotspots around the world from Bucharest to the Azores, and with the massive Haiti & Japan earthquakes still in recent memory, this is a fascinating exploration of the strangest and most violent of natural disasters"--… (more)

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