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Quakeland: On the Road to America's Next Devastating Earthquake

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A journey around the United States in search of the truth about the threat of earthquakes leads to spine-tingling discoveries, unnerving experts, and ultimately the kind of preparations that will actually help guide us through disasters. It's a road trip full of surprises. Earthquakes. You need to worry about them only if you're in San Francisco, right? Wrong. We have A journey around the United States in search of the truth about the threat of earthquakes leads to spine-tingling discoveries, unnerving experts, and ultimately the kind of preparations that will actually help guide us through disasters. It's a road trip full of surprises. Earthquakes. You need to worry about them only if you're in San Francisco, right? Wrong. We have been making enormous changes to subterranean America, and Mother Earth, as always, has been making some of her own. . . . The consequences for our real estate, our civil engineering, and our communities will be huge because they will include earthquakes most of us do not expect and cannot imagine--at least not without reading Quakeland. Kathryn Miles descends into mines in the Northwest, dissects Mississippi levee engineering studies, uncovers the horrific risks of an earthquake in the Northeast, and interviews the seismologists, structual engineers, and emergency managers around the country who are addressing this ground shaking threat. As Miles relates, the era of human-induced earthquakes began in 1962 in Colorado after millions of gallons of chemical-weapon waste was pumped underground in the Rockies. More than 1,500 quakes over the following seven years resulted. The Department of Energy plans to dump spent nuclear rods in the same way. Evidence of fracking's seismological impact continues to mount. . . . Humans as well as fault lines built our "quakeland." What will happen when Memphis, home of FedEx's 1.5-million-packages-a-day hub, goes offline as a result of an earthquake along the unstable Reelfoot Fault? FEMA has estimated that a modest 7.0 magnitude quake (twenty of these happen per year around the world) along the Wasatch Fault under Salt Lake City would put a $33 billion dent in our economy. When the Fukushima reactor melted down, tens of thousands were displaced. If New York's Indian Point nuclear power plant blows, ten million people will be displaced. How would that evacuation even begin? Kathryn Miles' tour of our land is as fascinating and frightening as it is irresistibly compelling.


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A journey around the United States in search of the truth about the threat of earthquakes leads to spine-tingling discoveries, unnerving experts, and ultimately the kind of preparations that will actually help guide us through disasters. It's a road trip full of surprises. Earthquakes. You need to worry about them only if you're in San Francisco, right? Wrong. We have A journey around the United States in search of the truth about the threat of earthquakes leads to spine-tingling discoveries, unnerving experts, and ultimately the kind of preparations that will actually help guide us through disasters. It's a road trip full of surprises. Earthquakes. You need to worry about them only if you're in San Francisco, right? Wrong. We have been making enormous changes to subterranean America, and Mother Earth, as always, has been making some of her own. . . . The consequences for our real estate, our civil engineering, and our communities will be huge because they will include earthquakes most of us do not expect and cannot imagine--at least not without reading Quakeland. Kathryn Miles descends into mines in the Northwest, dissects Mississippi levee engineering studies, uncovers the horrific risks of an earthquake in the Northeast, and interviews the seismologists, structual engineers, and emergency managers around the country who are addressing this ground shaking threat. As Miles relates, the era of human-induced earthquakes began in 1962 in Colorado after millions of gallons of chemical-weapon waste was pumped underground in the Rockies. More than 1,500 quakes over the following seven years resulted. The Department of Energy plans to dump spent nuclear rods in the same way. Evidence of fracking's seismological impact continues to mount. . . . Humans as well as fault lines built our "quakeland." What will happen when Memphis, home of FedEx's 1.5-million-packages-a-day hub, goes offline as a result of an earthquake along the unstable Reelfoot Fault? FEMA has estimated that a modest 7.0 magnitude quake (twenty of these happen per year around the world) along the Wasatch Fault under Salt Lake City would put a $33 billion dent in our economy. When the Fukushima reactor melted down, tens of thousands were displaced. If New York's Indian Point nuclear power plant blows, ten million people will be displaced. How would that evacuation even begin? Kathryn Miles' tour of our land is as fascinating and frightening as it is irresistibly compelling.

30 review for Quakeland: On the Road to America's Next Devastating Earthquake

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    Earthquakes are fascinating. My mother, born and raised in Italy, is even more familiar with them than I am but ever since there was one where I still live today, I've been even more invested in the topic. Interestingly, the earthquake I experienced at home was talked about in this book. The author describes a little bit the history of earthquakes, gives a nice overview of seismology and plate tectonics, describes the different types of earthquakes. She delves into the big ones like the 1906 San Earthquakes are fascinating. My mother, born and raised in Italy, is even more familiar with them than I am but ever since there was one where I still live today, I've been even more invested in the topic. Interestingly, the earthquake I experienced at home was talked about in this book. The author describes a little bit the history of earthquakes, gives a nice overview of seismology and plate tectonics, describes the different types of earthquakes. She delves into the big ones like the 1906 San Francisco earthquake as well as smaller ones and gives a nice overview by also talking about events from around the world (reading about the devastation caused was almost traumatizing). In fact, for researching this book, she undertook quite some travels down mine shafts and on Mississippi river steam boats and it was quite interesting seeing all those places through her eyes. She talks about development measures causing earthquakes as well as actions we've undertaken as disaster prevention - and tells of how wholly unprepared most of us truly are. Why? Because while we have the science (more or less), we don't want to spend the big bucks (or at least most don't). There are countries, such as Japan, who have higher construction standards than, say, the US. However, that alone is not enough. If you look at hurricane Katrina and how long it took FEMA to get water to people in need, you can imagine what would happen during a really bad earthquake. And several big ones are queued up if we look at how regularly they occur. The interesting thing for me while reading this book was to see how many earthquakes were anthropogenic. And not just from fracking but also from digging mines and disposing of waste water (though can you really talk of "disposing" if all you do is pump it into the ground?). There were a few examples I hadn't heard before and the little excursion into the hoover Dam (important because of the water masses it holds, of course) was funny in a tragic way. Just like a few pop culture references. Because we seem to be almost unnaturally interested in disaster when it comes to movies, watching even the trashiest (yes, I include myself here) but we're not prepared to change our lifestyle or spend money on preparing or even preventing such disasters on a large scale. Weird, isn't it? Now, as I mentioned in the beginning, one earthquake was mentioned that I personally experienced. I need to do a little digging later but I think there was actually an error here in the book. The author talked about the 2006/2007 Basel earthquake having been a 3.4 on the Richter scale but we were told it was a 4.3 - maybe a case of transposed digits? But there was another, before that. In 2004 there was one of a 5.4 magnitude that originated in the same area (though slightly north of the city of Basel). I was still in school back then, it was the holidays and I was sick in bed watching a movie when the ground started shaking. I had never personally experienced an earthquake before but I knew what to do because my mother had told me. My stepfather, on the other hand, did everything wrong (also because he didn't think it could/would be an earthquake). Nothing happened, nobody was injured in our case, our house (very old and therefore sturdy structure) also sustaining no outward damages (and no inward ones as far as I know). But that might also be because we are about 120km away from the epicenter. Nevertheless, the quake lasted for about 30 seconds and was quite disconcerting. The reason for the earthquake? Human stupidity and greed. They had been using geothermal methods to build the Gotthard tunnel and the "deep heat mining" project. There had been studies forecasting exactly this outcome but the responsible parties didn't care until it was too late. There were several earthquakes over the course of 2-3 years in total but the one in 2006/2007 stopped the projects as people had had enough. To read what people have gone through in the US and for how long they've accepted the status quo ... almost unbelievable. Anyway, a very interesting topic with real-life implications, especially in the coming years. Even if the supervolcano under Yellowstone doesn't erupt (yet), there are plenty of other scenarios - with and without volcanoes - that could wreak havoc and I hope that the right people will smarten up and start investing in the right stuff. Besides, it WILL erupt eventually, there is nothing we can do about it, ignoring the danger isn't gonna make it go away. The book was written well, with a few drier passages along the way, but also some almost funny moments.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    This attempts to be a catch-all on everything earthquakes, going through money loss, eyewitness reports, and a pretty substantial expose on dams. As an opener, I suppose it could have had a few more exciting starts... but later on, when we got into the historical accounts of earthquakes, I think it got better. Especially when we got to fracking. Later, when we got into the real science of seismology, I really began to enjoy it. I was looking for real science, after all, but, of course, there's ple This attempts to be a catch-all on everything earthquakes, going through money loss, eyewitness reports, and a pretty substantial expose on dams. As an opener, I suppose it could have had a few more exciting starts... but later on, when we got into the historical accounts of earthquakes, I think it got better. Especially when we got to fracking. Later, when we got into the real science of seismology, I really began to enjoy it. I was looking for real science, after all, but, of course, there's plenty about this that still seems to encourage con men. "I will predict! For a low, low cost of..." :) I hope, one of these days, some REAL money will be poured into the field so we have real data. This book was okay. Not the best, but it isn't bad.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lena

    ”We need to believe earthquake scientists when they tell us that the big one is coming.” Takeaways: Do not live near fracking well storage. Do not live near fracking. Do not live near deep old mines. Do not live near Yellowstone. Do not live in Oklahoma or Texas or possibly Utah. Do have an earthquake plan. Do carry a go bag in your car. Do investigate earthquake and flood insurance. Do read Shaken in the Night: A Survivor's Story from the Yellowstone Earthquake of 1959. Do download MyShake to your a ”We need to believe earthquake scientists when they tell us that the big one is coming.” Takeaways: Do not live near fracking well storage. Do not live near fracking. Do not live near deep old mines. Do not live near Yellowstone. Do not live in Oklahoma or Texas or possibly Utah. Do have an earthquake plan. Do carry a go bag in your car. Do investigate earthquake and flood insurance. Do read Shaken in the Night: A Survivor's Story from the Yellowstone Earthquake of 1959. Do download MyShake to your android phone. http://myshake.berkeley.edu The introduction made me believe this book was going to be the Rinker Buck of science, well it wasn’t that good but it was information worth having. We all need to be more prepared because help is not a guarantee. I’ll give this 3.5 stars and round up to four because more people need to read about this topic.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    I love natural disasters, (and movies about them, particularly if they star Dwayne Johnson.) They make for fascinating reading and watching material in fiction and nonfiction. I also live directly over the New Madrid fault line, aka that mean mother of a fault that made the Mississippi flow backwards in the 1800s. So I may as well read a book about earthquakes - know thine enemy and all.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    In July, 1964 my husband and his family took a vacation out West. Although my husband was only twelve years old, he never forgot the "road that went into the lake" at Yellowstone National Park. In 1959 there had been an earthquake that caused a massive landslide into a lake. The lake rose 22 feet, so that the roads that once went to the Cabin Creek Campground ended at the lake, and new roads had to be made. The dirt road going into the lake is blocked off by pylons. The new road goes up the hill. In July, 1964 my husband and his family took a vacation out West. Although my husband was only twelve years old, he never forgot the "road that went into the lake" at Yellowstone National Park. In 1959 there had been an earthquake that caused a massive landslide into a lake. The lake rose 22 feet, so that the roads that once went to the Cabin Creek Campground ended at the lake, and new roads had to be made. The dirt road going into the lake is blocked off by pylons. The new road goes up the hill. Yellowstone, 1964, photo by Herman L. Bekofske Here he was, camping with his family in an area that had been hit by a killer earthquake in his time. It was memorable. "Earthquake Lake," 1964. Photo by Herman L. Bekofske Across the road was the canyon wall that caused the country's largest landslide ; it had buried nineteen people. The mountain face that collapsed into the lake. Yellowstone, 1964, photo by Herman L. Bekofske The first chapter of Quakeland recounts the story of a family, just like my husband's, who had gone camping in Yellowstone. The author takes us through their day, searching for the 'right' camping spot, setting up camp, and getting ready for bed. And then we are taken through the horrendous experience the campers endured when the earthquake collapsed the mountain side, sloshed the lake back and forth, creating winds so strong it ripped the clothing off campers, and then deluged the area with a wall of water that drove a stick into a camper's knee socket. Afterwards the lake was 22 feet higher. The mountain face that collapsed into the lake. Yellowstone, 1964. Photo by Herman L. Bekofske It's enough to make me grateful my folks never took me out West camping. Quakeland is full of stories that will send shivers up your spine. Not only because naturally occurring fault lines that transverse our country cause quakes, which in our ignorance we have built upon--cities like Memphis and Salt Lake City--but also because of human activity that causes earthquakes: dams and mines and fracking and even building tall buildings. I used to be pretty smug about my home state being 'safe'. We can be hit by tornadoes, but no hurricanes. We aren't known for earthquakes. Yet, Michigan has had its earthquakes and likely will again. There are fault lines in the Upper Peninsula, through the center of the state, and on the Lake Huron side in the "thumb." The state can be shaken by quakes from the New Madrid fault. When our son was growing up we went to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to camp. We took day trips, apparently all along fault lines! One day we toured the Quincy Mine. This copper mine was effectively closed in 1946. We were almost the only ones there that day. The tour took us to the 7th level of the mine. In 1914 the miners working at the Quincy mine caused a rock burst. Any time we redistribute pressure the earth will respond. Mining is a human-created cause of earthquakes, and the Keweenaw mining area has a history of quakes. The biggest earthquake in Michigan history, magnitude 4.6, occurred in 1947 near Coldwater, MI, a flat, agricultural area in Southern Michigan just above the state line. In 1994 the state was hit by a magnitude 3.4 quake centered near Potterville, just west of Lansing. And in 2015 a magnitude 4.2 quake was centered in Galesburg just south of Kalamazoo. We have lived in Lansing, and a half-hour down the road from Coldwater and Kalamazoo. Four months ago a 2.2 quake occurred in Grosse Point, just east of Detroit. So much for being 'safe' from earthquakes. Miles style was entertaining and the information very accessible. Readers who enjoy learning about the natural world, disasters or potential disasters, and the implications of the energy industry's impact on our natural world will enjoy this book. Just be warned: this book may keep you awake at night. I received a free book from the publisher through a Goodreads giveaway. After 9/22/2017 see my blog post for photographs: https://theliteratequilter.blogspot.c...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Yun

    Quakeland is a journey across America, examining earthquakes both naturally-occurring as well as man-made. It takes a hard look at what we humans are doing to contribute to the frequency and severity of them, as well as what we are doing to prepare and recover from them. The conclusion is that earthquakes can happen pretty much anywhere. And we are contributing to their frequency and severity. And we know so little about them that we don't have a way of predicting them. And because big ones happ Quakeland is a journey across America, examining earthquakes both naturally-occurring as well as man-made. It takes a hard look at what we humans are doing to contribute to the frequency and severity of them, as well as what we are doing to prepare and recover from them. The conclusion is that earthquakes can happen pretty much anywhere. And we are contributing to their frequency and severity. And we know so little about them that we don't have a way of predicting them. And because big ones happen so rarely and people's memories are so short, most governments do not find it worthwhile to spend the money so that we are prepared. It's a pretty scary conclusion. A good chunk of this book (Part 2) is focused on earthquakes with man-made causes. This includes dams, drilling, mines, injection wells, geothermal energy, fracking, etc. Since there are so many of these topics, at times this part of the book feels thinly stretched, with fact-after-fact thrown in, but not enough depth or an overarching story that the reader can really remember it all. In the end, I'm not sure I retained much details from the topics in this part. I went into this book wanting to understand more about the well-known earthquake zones, such as the Cascadia subduction zone and Ring of Fire, but the book didn't spent much time covering those, just a chapter here and there. It would have been nice to see more coverage about their histories, what we know about the lead-up to their tremors, and how communities rebuilt afterwards. Part 3 of the book is the most interesting to me. It talks about urban planning with respect to earthquakes, mental health effects of those who have experienced a traumatic earthquake, tsunamis, earthquake predictions, and early warning systems. I really enjoyed this part of the book and thought it was well-written and engaging.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Trike

    This is clearly and engagingly written, accessible to anyone. It's very light on the terminology and tells plenty of personal stories, so there's no need to be afraid of it if science isn't usually your cup of tea. I've been interested in earthquakes for as long as I can remember. I experienced my first one in 1980 and have been through a few since then. A couple in Ohio, one in Napa valley, and one earlier this year in New Hampshire. They've all been very minor, more of a "gee that was neat" exp This is clearly and engagingly written, accessible to anyone. It's very light on the terminology and tells plenty of personal stories, so there's no need to be afraid of it if science isn't usually your cup of tea. I've been interested in earthquakes for as long as I can remember. I experienced my first one in 1980 and have been through a few since then. A couple in Ohio, one in Napa valley, and one earlier this year in New Hampshire. They've all been very minor, more of a "gee that was neat" experience than anything terrifying. But I've seen the devastation they can cause around the world. Two sizable quakes hit Mexico a couple weeks ago, and the footage from them was dramatic. One building just disintegrated, literally falling to pieces within minutes. So knowing abut earthquakes is good. But since I've been following this for so long, there isn't a lot of new information here for me. I'd say about 95% is stuff I've already encountered elsewhere. That's not to take away from this book at all; it's more to underscore just how little the science has advanced in the past 35 years. The big eye-opener for me was how much more serious human-caused earthquakes are becoming, largely due to fracking. I had known about the issue but hadn't really given it much thought since it doesn't happen near me. Now I'm envisioning a fracking quake triggering a bigger fault that tears Oklahoma in half, triggers the New Madrid fault and then gets the Yellowstone caldera to blow its top. In that (hilariously unlikely) scenario, the world as we know it would end. The US would be crippled beyond repair and tens of millions of people in North America would die, but it would also plunge the entire planet into darkness. Crops wouldn't grow and it would be an extinction-level event. In order to save a few pennies on gas. That'd be just like us. Kathryn Miles walks the fine line between giving you information and terrifying you, but being scared is a valid reaction. Don't brood over the possibilities, rather, you should do what she advises in the afterword and create an earthquake plan for you and your family. Count on systems being disrupted. Have a modicum of supplies stashed away. Have a go bag ready in case you need to bug out. Maybe secure your house as best you can. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Quakeland isn't just about quakes. It's also about things that cause earthquakes, like faults, fracking, and dams, and things that help remediate earthquake damage, like thoughtful urban design and updated infrastructure. A very interesting read. Quakeland isn't just about quakes. It's also about things that cause earthquakes, like faults, fracking, and dams, and things that help remediate earthquake damage, like thoughtful urban design and updated infrastructure. A very interesting read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    This book gets 5 stars for being both informative and readable, with both the human element (personal drama, and getting to know the scientists) and the technical information (written for the lay person). I learned a lot. I knew that fracking caused seismic activity, but didn't know how much or where before this book. I live in California not too far from a high risk area. Though I do have earthquake insurance, my home is mostly concrete block -- not good! It's time for more earthquake drills wit This book gets 5 stars for being both informative and readable, with both the human element (personal drama, and getting to know the scientists) and the technical information (written for the lay person). I learned a lot. I knew that fracking caused seismic activity, but didn't know how much or where before this book. I live in California not too far from a high risk area. Though I do have earthquake insurance, my home is mostly concrete block -- not good! It's time for more earthquake drills with the kids! And also to make sure our one-year supply of water bottles is still fresh enough. We need enough to share with our dear neighbors since, like most people, they probably have NO plan in place. One typo worth mentioning: On Page 126, the Loma Prieta earthquake was listed as 1992, though it was actually 1989. But the author knows this, as she got it right elsewhere, so it's just a typo. (I know the year of Loma Prieta because, though too far away to be at risk, I was close enough to feel it, and heard my co-workers racing down the hall yelling: "Earthquake, earthquake!" It's a day I won't forget. This book is good motivation to improve my preparations. Thanks Kathryn!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    I mostly enjoyed this book, but felt like the author repeated herself in certain sections and skimmed over some of her more interesting points and site visits (particularly about tsunami risk in the PNW). I didn't like her writing (maybe a personal preference - trying to be funny while talking about a pretty serious topic). I mostly enjoyed this book, but felt like the author repeated herself in certain sections and skimmed over some of her more interesting points and site visits (particularly about tsunami risk in the PNW). I didn't like her writing (maybe a personal preference - trying to be funny while talking about a pretty serious topic).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    If you're in a region of the world that experiences earthquakes - and there pretty much isn't one - you want to know the causes, how you and your loved ones can survive one as well as the after effects be that aftershocks or a tsunami. Sometimes quakes are where we expect them - like California, Turkey, Japan or Chile. But more often they are not. Why don't they happen where expected? Because scientists across the world are still finding more and more faults beneath our feet. Where the crust was If you're in a region of the world that experiences earthquakes - and there pretty much isn't one - you want to know the causes, how you and your loved ones can survive one as well as the after effects be that aftershocks or a tsunami. Sometimes quakes are where we expect them - like California, Turkey, Japan or Chile. But more often they are not. Why don't they happen where expected? Because scientists across the world are still finding more and more faults beneath our feet. Where the crust was stretched and torn millions of years ago or forced into another landmass, shoving and cracking miles below the surface. Land still rebounding after the tremendous weight of the glaciers from millenia ago. The way to determine whether these faults are active or not only comes when they move. And that's how scientists discover so many more. But there is some need for basic earthquake geology as well as some amusing history. Did you know that Ancient Greeks thought quakes were caused by subterranean winds? Norse believed it was a wolf howling in rage. In the Middle Ages, it was due to the Earth's flatulence or when collapsing mountains sighed. Got to give our ancestors credit for creativity. And it's not just naturally-occurring quakes that humanity has to deal with. It's also the man-made ones. Causes can be from the stress of a huge hydroelectric dam's weight along with the millions of gallons of water behind it. Large buildings packed with people like a stadium or arena. Underground mines that use explosives to break up the rock structure and remove the supports. Removing millions of gallons of aquifer water which supports the ground above it. Volcanoes and the moving tectonic plates. Injecting toxic water deep into the crust - hopefully below the water-table but not likely - that stresses and cracks the surrounding area. The same tactics are used for hydraulic fracking and the removal of oil. The experimentation that detonated massive bombs during World War II and the Cold War that sent shock waves across the globe on the surface as well as underground. As Miles has explored many of the causes of quakes, she eventually gets around to the scientists and geologists that are working to understand the phenomena. Sensors are deployed in major quake areas, hoping that when the next one happens, they'll be able to gain more information and come closer to understanding what causes a fault to release the stress. Why swarms may precede a major quake or be the stress-reliever that quiets the fault for centuries. The book ends with a double scenario - one where a quake hits and there is no warning. Where the cell towers are down. Buildings and roads have collapsed, injuring and perhaps killing the inhabitants. Your neighbors gas stove has caused a fire and emergency vehicles can't get through the debris. Where is your family? Did you make any plans for meeting if something like this happens? Do you have any supplies to make it through the next few days or weeks? Scary, isn't it? And then there is the second scenario where there is an alert coming through your cellphone. It may only be seconds - because at this time, computers are using those sensors to detect the faster moving p-waves and responding to them. But those seconds give you time to prepare. To get under your desk. To flee a building or at least get in the more reinforced doorway. And after, you already know that your children are going to meet you at the football field at school. You've got a bag at work or in your car that has a change of clothes, some cash, water and a bit of food. I know which one I hope I'd been looking at after a quake. And I can guess which one you would want as well. Predicting earthquakes is still a very unreliable science but by creating a network like described in the book - the My Shake app - maybe a few more will survive. Being prepared and knowledgeable can't hurt. Especially in situations like these. 2020-044

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amber (bookstacksamber)

    4.5 stars I looooooved this! I listened to the audiobook over the course of a week during my commute and I thought it was so interesting. As someone without a science background, I found it to be very accessible and engaging, even though it was full of statistics and geological information. I picked this up on a whim because the cover caught my eye, and I'm so glad I did. I have a morbid fascination with natural disasters, and this was both fascinating and very alarming. There are so many things 4.5 stars I looooooved this! I listened to the audiobook over the course of a week during my commute and I thought it was so interesting. As someone without a science background, I found it to be very accessible and engaging, even though it was full of statistics and geological information. I picked this up on a whim because the cover caught my eye, and I'm so glad I did. I have a morbid fascination with natural disasters, and this was both fascinating and very alarming. There are so many things that are involved in preparing for earthquakes that I never thought of. I wasn't thrilled to read that living in the Midwest doesn't make me any safer than anywhere else in the US, especially since we have zero education around earthquake safety here. It wasn't something I ever really thought much about before this. I learned so much! Like, did you know that the San Andreas movie crew wasn't permitted to film at the Hoover Dam because the movie was "unrealistic," yet they allowed for a scene from Transformers, a movie about alien robots, to film on location? Or that when reservoirs are created, the pressure of the heavy water causes earthquakes? Humans are doing a horrific number of things to our planet that are having disastrous consequences, and earthquakes are a huge part of that. If anyone has recommendations for other similarly engaging non-fiction books, I'd love to hear them!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I live in Nebraska. We don't think about earthquakes here much. Every winter, my husband and I go to Palm Springs and see the famous San Andreas fault. So far, there hasn't been a quake when we have been visiting, but when I was young and lived in San Diego, I did experience a mild quake. Miles' book is very interesting because she provides information about locations where serious earthquakes could happen that most people don't associate with earthquakes. For example, in Nebraska, we could be s I live in Nebraska. We don't think about earthquakes here much. Every winter, my husband and I go to Palm Springs and see the famous San Andreas fault. So far, there hasn't been a quake when we have been visiting, but when I was young and lived in San Diego, I did experience a mild quake. Miles' book is very interesting because she provides information about locations where serious earthquakes could happen that most people don't associate with earthquakes. For example, in Nebraska, we could be seriously effected if the New Madras fault near St. Louis ruptured. Also, Nebraska would be a pit of molten lava if the big volcano in Yellowstone was ruptured by an earthquake. The east coast also has plenty of fault zones and, like the Midwest, most of the buildings there are not built to withstand earthquakes like those in California. You will also learn about earthquakes caused by fracking and how difficult it is to predict earthquakes and the various approaches scientists have used to try an learn how to predict them. But most importantly, she urges you to have a plan. A place agreed upon to meet up with your family if you are all in various parts of the city when the quake hits. An emergency kit with some medical supplies and water. A plan for what to hide under in your home or work place to protect you from falling debris if you can evacuate .

  14. 4 out of 5

    Steve Donoghue

    As America learned in 2020, there are all kinds of brighter, flashier disasters on offer at all times. But this fascinating book by Kathryn Miles explores the one most people never think of: massive earthquakes. She delves into the science, talks with the experts, and paints a picture of inevitability that makes for gripping, if disturbing reading. My full review: https://www.stevedonoghue.com/review-... As America learned in 2020, there are all kinds of brighter, flashier disasters on offer at all times. But this fascinating book by Kathryn Miles explores the one most people never think of: massive earthquakes. She delves into the science, talks with the experts, and paints a picture of inevitability that makes for gripping, if disturbing reading. My full review: https://www.stevedonoghue.com/review-...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Janette Mcmahon

    Highly readable book on earthquakes and what we are doing to our environment to help destroy it. Well researched and the terminology isn't over the top, in fact a truely readable non fiction. I liked the combination of environmental happenings and the societal results, it brings natural disasters full circle. Highly readable book on earthquakes and what we are doing to our environment to help destroy it. Well researched and the terminology isn't over the top, in fact a truely readable non fiction. I liked the combination of environmental happenings and the societal results, it brings natural disasters full circle.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    As a native Californian she managed to sufficiently scare me... after the recent fires all I needed was a reminder of what else the future can bring. Covered from soup to nuts, I thought it was excellent and now I feel on edge :-(

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tena

    I won this in a GOODREADS giveaway.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rik Chandler

    My pick for non-fiction book of the year for 2017.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Diane Wallace

    This book is an excellent source of information on earthquake potential in the United States and how unprepared we are. It shows how any underground activity could cause a quake. I found in very interesting to read. I learned much.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bekah

    Reviewed on Books Cats Tea 3.5 stars rounded up Earthquakes in America are really only a West Coast problem, right? According to Kathryn Miles, that is a dangerous assumption to live by. Earthquakes are everywhere. Don't feel bad, I was under the same illusion, too. Quakeland is a combination of science and history, as well as travelogue, that delves into the mechanics, geology, and even human influences on earthquakes across the Earth. One would expect that a book on the next big American quake wo Reviewed on Books Cats Tea 3.5 stars rounded up Earthquakes in America are really only a West Coast problem, right? According to Kathryn Miles, that is a dangerous assumption to live by. Earthquakes are everywhere. Don't feel bad, I was under the same illusion, too. Quakeland is a combination of science and history, as well as travelogue, that delves into the mechanics, geology, and even human influences on earthquakes across the Earth. One would expect that a book on the next big American quake would focus specifically on American faults, but, as the book discusses, America (and the world over) is constantly shifting and changing and those changes are revealing more and more about the thin surface that we inhabit. That's the thing about the East Coast: Its earthquake hazard may be lower than that of the West Coast, but the total effect of any given quake is much higher (pg 83). [M]ostly because they are occurring on far harder rock capable of propagating waves much farther. And because these quakes occur in places with higher population densities, these eastern events can impact a lot more people (pg 82). Quakeland is thorough in addressing numerous problems that exacerbate earthquakes: dams and reservoirs, man-made rivers and lakes, volcanoes, bridges and travel, water, sewer, and communication lines, mines and quarries, construction (such as the Taipei 101 building), oil extraction, waste-water injection, hydraulic fracturing, glacial bounce back, even heavy rains, floods, and hurricanes have been known to increase the frequency of earthquakes. While all of these issues are discussed to varying lengths, the majority of the book focuses on how humans have disrupted and disturbed the ground beneath our feet. The biggest issues at the forefront of this are dams, mining, and, most especially, the results of hydraulic fracking. Oklahoma is currently the most seismically active state in the Lower 48 (pg 190). The connection between fluid and earthquakes is well know. Yet, despite scientists, geologists, and seismologists over the years also noticing links between human activity in the earth and new or increased seismic activity, there is still a chasm with some as to their correlation. In the fall of 2016, a team of researchers at the University of Calgary published a catalog of seismic activity showing "that earthquakes are tightly clustered in space and time near hydraulic fracturing sites" in Western Canada. The also found a direct correlation between activity at these sites and when earthquakes occur, The official position of the USGS [United States Geological Survey], however, remains the assertion that "fracking is NOT causing most of the induced earthquakes. Wastewater disposal is the primary cause of the recent increase in earthquakes in the central United States" (pg 188-189). [However,] What we do know without a doubt is that moving fluid around underground redistributes stress, and that that alone can cause an earthquake. Scientists first observed this phenomenon in 1913 (pg 189). It starts to become hard to look the other way as Miles gives example after example after example--almost to the point of ad nauseam on the studies and findings scientists have made. She describes how scientists using satellites sensors and radar to map the contours of the planet began noticing bulges on the crust at waste-water (hydra-fraction water that also contains 260 toxic chemicals ) injection sites. Throughout her investigation into various human inflicted and naturally occurring seismic events, Miles discusses the prospect of preparedness. How are towns addressing concerns for new, continued, or stronger earthquakes? What is the reasoning behind so many choosing NOT to do anything about the scientific evidence brought before them? What are seismologists and geologists doing to try and spread the word about the ground under people's feet? Ultimately, it comes down to how the individual is prepared regardless of what their town, city, or state is (or isn't) doing. Personal preparedness will allow you to have the supplies in the event that the roads, airports, and hospitals are buckled which prevents help from coming quickly, electrical and telephone lines go down, sewers burst and contaminate drinking water, and fires (the biggest concern following an earthquake) break out. Having a plan which you practice can save you precious seconds and put a routine in place. The Berkeley Seismology Lab is trying to help people with an app they have developed called MyShake and give people a head start to protect themselves. As for the book itself, I would have liked to see some images, maps, or graphs to go with the information. I feel like that would have helped to solidify and synthesize the stories, data, and events. I also thought that some of the interjections that were intended to be funny came across as snide or rude. "Large structures, like most Americans, are really good at rest." Not only did this interrupt the learning process, it damages the flow of reading going from informative to opinionated. The writing gets a little tedious with auxiliary stories and unnecessary background information on people or places Miles goes to. Do I really need to know what someone is wearing or their opinions on salads? That should have been left. I also wasn't too keen on the lack of chronological structure that the later half of the book took on. It was well constructed to begin with, but towards the end, there was more and more injection of irrelevant material that made me start to skim introductions of new people or places. All in all, I am giving the content 4 stars because I feel that this is a subject matter that everyone should read about because I'm sure that, like me, they live with the notion that earthquakes are a West Coast problem, not theirs. I am giving the writing itself 3 stars because it started out strong, but derailed and buried information in unnecessary filler.

  21. 4 out of 5

    James

    Scattered and trivial, even tho I live in a high risk area I didn't bother to finish the book Scattered and trivial, even tho I live in a high risk area I didn't bother to finish the book

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ken Hammond

    This was so fascinating so many interesting facts told in light easy manner really enjoyed it i will borrow it again from my library.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    This is a very readable account of the current state of the science of plate tectonics, emergency planning, and earthquake prediction. It includes vivid historical accounts of both historically recorded quakes and tsunamis and more ancient disasters that occurred before substantial contemporaneous accounts but are now being examined via geological detective work. It does a good job of explaining subduction zone ruptures, transform faults (like the San Andreas), and continental convergence events This is a very readable account of the current state of the science of plate tectonics, emergency planning, and earthquake prediction. It includes vivid historical accounts of both historically recorded quakes and tsunamis and more ancient disasters that occurred before substantial contemporaneous accounts but are now being examined via geological detective work. It does a good job of explaining subduction zone ruptures, transform faults (like the San Andreas), and continental convergence events (like a 1950 earthquake in China and Nepal, where two continental plates "played chicken" and ran into each other head-on). One of the most intriguing aspects of the book is its thorough discussion of induced seismicity: how humans make earthquakes. It's not limited to the quakes caused by fracking; we have a historical record of human activity creating stress that affects the complicated earth we scamper over - mining, building things (including dams), trying to store our spent nuclear fuel rods. Even our more benign activities generate some degree of seismicity, which is why seismologists have installed monitoring equipment at the Seahawks football stadium (yep, the enthusiasm and/or despair is literally measurable). The discussion of the New Madrid fault zone increased my knowledge a lot. I hadn't realized that under the Mississippi River is a huge continental rift zone where the continent started splitting apart, but didn't do so completely. Also prominent through the book is the notion that we are discovering new faults all the time, in places we had traditionally thought of as geologically stable. Maybe those faults aren't so active as the Pacific Ring, but just think of the 2011 Virginia earthquake (an M 5.8 quake) that caused some damage, especially to the Washington Monument, which turns out to be the kind of structure you really don't want to be in or around during a quake. (Also, nobody uses the term Richter scale any more: it's the M scale - Moment Magnitude.) An encouraging aspect of the book is the ongoing investigation of earthquake and tsunami preparedness and prediction. Prediction is still a bust, mainly because geology doesn't care about human time - 3 years, 300 years, 3,000 years, just a geological blink. But short notice warning shows promise. That's because of the P waves and the S waves generated by a quake. P waves move faster than S waves, and if we were able to disseminate notice of the P waves efficiently, people might have just enough time to grab their kid or their dog and hunker down under a heavy table, for school kids to duck and cover (not useful for nuclear war, but good for earthquakes), and for various equipment and machinery to be taken off line. The ability to disseminate notice is the big problem: we don't generally have good alert systems in place. Also encouraging is the discussion of school principal Paula Akerlund and her school complex in Ocasta, a small town on the Olympic peninsula. This is an area at high risk of quake generated tsunamis. They needed a new elementary school anyway, so Akerlund pressed and pushed and cajoled the powers that be to include in that structure a tsunami evacuation zone. It got built, they drill regularly on the evacuation procedure, and they can get 700 students to the zone really fast. There are evacuation supplies stored there as well. It's not a wealthy community. Many of the parents work in the local fishing industry. One mom mentioned to the author that the construction of the evacuation zone allowed her to take a chance on getting a better paying job further away. She hadn't wanted to before because she wanted to be near her kids in case of disaster. But induced seismicity is probably the scariest part, mainly because we can do something about it and we are not. Oklahoma is a site of injected wastewater from fracking not only from its own industry, but from wastewater shipped in from Texas and other states as well. The occurrence of induced earthquakes has increased rapidly, but big energy companies are still fighting the science, using the traditional Big Tobacco and No Climate Change tactics of denial and obstruction. It wasn't until 2014 that the USGS even began to included incidents of induced seismicity in their earthquake records. The fact that these wastewater sites, with the increase in earthquakes and the concomitant water table and ground contamination, tend to be located in or near poorer communities is hardly a coincidence.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rahul

    Quakeland is a good, well-researched book. Lot of information though. A few times I felt overloaded by so much wonderful tidbits and knowledge - that as if I was reading a trivia book but about earthquakes. It talks in detail about how earthquakes happen (as expected), what are the common misconceptions around it, how prone we are to them. And what are the challenges in preparing well enough for them. And as would be easy to guess - we, especially in the US, are not at all prepared for earthquakes Quakeland is a good, well-researched book. Lot of information though. A few times I felt overloaded by so much wonderful tidbits and knowledge - that as if I was reading a trivia book but about earthquakes. It talks in detail about how earthquakes happen (as expected), what are the common misconceptions around it, how prone we are to them. And what are the challenges in preparing well enough for them. And as would be easy to guess - we, especially in the US, are not at all prepared for earthquakes. The infrastructure is not good enough, probably too old to withstand a medium sized earthquake and there is no proper evacuation measures in place for a populous city. It’s all linked to huge costs and possibly mismanagement of funds. Here are the few key points of what I learned from the book :- *Salt Lake City airport (and the city), Utah is built on a soul that is susceptible to soil liquefaction *Yellowstone National Park is a wealth of geological activity *Hebgen Lake 1959 earthquake caused massive damage even though not that big in magnitude *There’s a winery right on top of the San Andreas fault (https://www.yelp.com/biz/derose-viney...) *Waves travel parallel and perpendicular to the surface *NY- Manhattanville/125th Street fault line *Growth in seismology occurred as a side-effect of US programme of developing nuclear weapons post WW-2. As a measure to monitor Russia and other countries’ nuclear programs it set up stations around the Northern Hemisphere and then in Europe. New instruments and techniques started to develop. *Earthquake can be induced by man-made activity too i.e Induced Seismicity *Man-made lakes or reservoirs on a dam are prone to cause earthquakes in areas with no prior quake history. Example - Konyanagar 1967, Lake Mead on Hoover Dam *Coeur D’Alene - Silver, Zinc and Lead are often found together. *Oklahoma - examples of swarms of earthquakes due to quarries, similar example in Rocky Mountain Arsenal where Army’s experiments with chemical weapons and disposing off the resulting waste caused quakes and contaminations. *Recovery from earthquakes are usually hard. Example of Christchurch 2011 - even tough for insurance companies to handle *URM (Un Re-inforced Masonry) are a concern. Major challenge is the cost of retrofitting and having to have the occupants vacate those residential buildings while retrofitted *Twist is what kills the buildings. Heavier the building, more force in its movement. That makes it all the more likely some key component will break, buckle or fall. *Wooden buildings, houses made of grass and clay in rural areas are much more likely to fare better than concrete. *Ghost forests (Neskowin) happened due to a massive earthquake *Parkfield, California - most monitored place because it’s right on top of the San Andreas fault. Earthquakes are very hard to predict. *There’s a MyShake app from UC Berkeley - which uses smartphones accelerometer to crowd-source earthquake shaking reports. Still a proof of concept.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    About an hour after finishing this book, I picked up our local newspaper and read an article about the current state of confusion over zoning and land use in what are known tsunami inundation zones along the Oregon coast. In one small town a police station deemed too risky had been vacated by the department, but now houses a child care center. So I really appreciated Miles' story from Ocosta, Washington where the leadership of the local school principal convinced the community to make great sacr About an hour after finishing this book, I picked up our local newspaper and read an article about the current state of confusion over zoning and land use in what are known tsunami inundation zones along the Oregon coast. In one small town a police station deemed too risky had been vacated by the department, but now houses a child care center. So I really appreciated Miles' story from Ocosta, Washington where the leadership of the local school principal convinced the community to make great sacrifice in an economically depressed area to build a state-of-the-art school that will serve as a tsunami refuge. And the extra expense and effort on the part of FedEx to deal with the fault zone they're on at their shipping hub in Memphis. Miles doesn't limit herself to locations that are expecting major earthquakes--sometime--and mainly ignoring preparations now. The book surveys the nation and shows that most areas, including the East and New York City, have had and can expect to have earthquakes. The connection with not only fracking of rock layers to extract oil but all kinds of rock stressing and disturbance, including stone quarries and reservoirs, can induce earthquakes. Seismic building codes and simple personal preparation, as well as the need for a quake warning system easily available by cell phone that can give enough lead time to at least take cover under a sturdy table are all covered. Generally the book is comprehensive and fascinating. She meets a number of really smart scientists and others. However, I have a couple problems with it. First, a few illustrations or even a timeline chart of major U.S. earthquakes would have been a great addition. Second, I found some of her writing rather sloppy. Just in chapters covering places and events I know a little about, I noted several confusions or just poor proofreading. One of the most interesting chapters is her visit to a very deep hard rock mine in the Idaho panhandle, but she travels "south" from Moscow, Idaho to arrive in Coeur d'Alene. And she describes a family "driving deeper into the 300-foot canyon" below Hebgen Dam. I'm not even sure what she was trying to say, as the canyon is many miles long and the mountains above higher than 300 feet. There were several other goofs I noticed, and sometimes she's a little too strained in her descriptions of the people she meets. While the book covers lots of ground in a readable way, I am nit-picky enough with nonfiction that mistakes detract from my confidence and enjoyment.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rouleauville

    As a book that tries to cover all the bases when it comes to earthquakes, it's good and up-to-date with current science and theory. It does cover a lot of ground - and the sections on man-made tremors/quakes caused by fracking/water injection was interesting. That's the good comments about the book. Now the downfalls. This book seriously needed an editor (or a better one who was willing to challenge the author). pg 42: "China endured a lot of them (earthquakes), even back then." (132AD). Uh yeah As a book that tries to cover all the bases when it comes to earthquakes, it's good and up-to-date with current science and theory. It does cover a lot of ground - and the sections on man-made tremors/quakes caused by fracking/water injection was interesting. That's the good comments about the book. Now the downfalls. This book seriously needed an editor (or a better one who was willing to challenge the author). pg 42: "China endured a lot of them (earthquakes), even back then." (132AD). Uh yeah - it's not as if plate tectonics is just a new experience to the 20th century. pg 186: "About 500 years ago, the area that is now Oklahoma was first inundated by a shallow ocean. Those waters brought with them a whole host of prehistoric animals and plant life." Hmmm - that might be news to some Native Americans. (or maybe the word 'million' was deleted.) These are just two small examples - but they took me out of the narrative immediately. Others examples were even more irritating - such as a whole paragraph description of a couple the author was interviewing including what they were wearing , the way they styled their hair, even their shoelaces. WHY ?? If the author wanted to 'set the scene' and provide the reader with a 'mental image' of the couple, I know there was a much better way to achieve that. Some of the author's asides at attempting humor were poorly placed. When talking discussing the area affecting by the nuclear disaster in Japan following the tsunami - the author notes that the land affected is "22 million square meters of contaminated soil: roughly thirty-four Disneylands' worth (high-pitched mouse and his girlfriend included)." First off - why not just say 22 square kilometers. Second, using Disneyland as a size comparison is not all that useful for a majority of readers. Third - the author's attempt at humour is awkward, not effective, and poorly placed in a section discussing a natural/man-made disaster that affected a large population. I debated rating the book 2-stars, but I'll compromise that it does hold interesting information for those who are not familiar with earthquake causes/theory/risks/damage prevention, and presents that info in an accessible format. For those who consider themselves somewhat knowledgeable on eq's & seisomology - I'd look elsewhere. The small additional information you'll glean from this book is probably not worth the time. And final advice for the author - for your next book please find a different editor to help guide you.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Costin Manda

    We trust the ground beneath our feet as something solid that can take our weight, keep our structures straight, holds fast. Yes, we read things, we know about tectonics, but other than that, everything is stable. In the very beginning of Quakeland, Kathryn Miles thoroughly debunks that idea: Earth is an ocean of lava upon which very thin amalgamations of sand and rubble float precariously. What we call faults are just the largest of cracks, stable and classifiable; there are many more that we ha We trust the ground beneath our feet as something solid that can take our weight, keep our structures straight, holds fast. Yes, we read things, we know about tectonics, but other than that, everything is stable. In the very beginning of Quakeland, Kathryn Miles thoroughly debunks that idea: Earth is an ocean of lava upon which very thin amalgamations of sand and rubble float precariously. What we call faults are just the largest of cracks, stable and classifiable; there are many more that we have no idea exist, fragile enough to be affected or even created by human activity. At this point, I was expecting an exciting journey through the center of the Earth. If the book would have continued as it started, it would have been a solid five stars, an educational tool to teach what most of the people have no idea about: the fragility of the thin crust we call solid ground. Alas, it was not to be. The rest of Quakeland, let's say the last 80%, was a very US-centric analysis of how neglected earthquakes are when constructing and maintaining American infrastructure and a fear inducing series of "what-ifs" and possible disasters affecting that one country. I shouldn't have expected anything else, I mean the subtitle is pretty clear, but how can someone switch registers from talking about the very structure of the planet to the measly issues of one country and its weird measuring units? And maybe she did not use the almost ubiquitous bus size, but Miles did use the swimming pool together with the M-scale (do not let any "serious" seismologist hear you talk about Richter), the miles, the feet, the pounds, etc. The writing is competent and almost formulaic in structure, but I can't say I had any issues with it. The bottom line is that the beginning was brilliant, the information that fracking (and mining in general) - regardless if it is toxic, damages the ground water or anything else activists throw at it - causes long series of earthquakes that affect whole areas while and even after operations cease, as powerful political and economic forces deny and actively fight the science that demonstrates this was new and important. Yet other than that it was just a normal reporter speculating about the possibilities of quakes - man made or not - causing serious harm. A lot of terribilism and fear mongering. That is why I can't really recommend this book and I will rate it as average only.

  28. 5 out of 5

    John Vanderslice

    I found this to be a surprisingly interesting book about a phenomenon that I would not normally read into or pay much attention to. Miles covers an enormous amount of ground: from the basic science of earthquakes, to the history of exploration into earth's core, to the controversial phenomenon of human-induced quakes (mining, fracking), to how our infrastructure and our buildings are or aren't safe from quakes, to the tricky (and nearly impossible) art of earthquake prediction, to earthquake ear I found this to be a surprisingly interesting book about a phenomenon that I would not normally read into or pay much attention to. Miles covers an enormous amount of ground: from the basic science of earthquakes, to the history of exploration into earth's core, to the controversial phenomenon of human-induced quakes (mining, fracking), to how our infrastructure and our buildings are or aren't safe from quakes, to the tricky (and nearly impossible) art of earthquake prediction, to earthquake early warning systems. Really it's an A to Z primer for the uninformed. She keeps it interesting by focusing on individuals every step of the way, drawing colorful portraits of each of the people she interviews and relishing in some of the colorful figures who had dared devote themselves to this science, including one odd duck who became a celebrity for 15 minutes in the early 90s for predicting the exact day and year that an earthquake would hit a specific town. Apparently, the town took him pretty seriously; so did news outlets, who gave him a tremendous amount of publicity. Of course, no earthquake happened. (It's impossible to give an exact day for an earthquake.) On the other hand, there is the curious case in Italy where a man predicted an earthquake (partly based on local snake behavior), but other scientists and town officials dismissed his claims, essentially telling people not to worry. Then a quake did hit, causing considerable loss of life and property. The experts who had officially told the public that a quake would not come were then put on trial for manslaughter! And they were convicted! Their convictions were overturned on appeal, but not for all of them. One man did serve something like two years in prison for wrongly telling the public that a quake would not hit. Throughout, Mile writes with real personality. While she transmits a great deal of science, she herself remains at the center of every chapter, because the book is what the title suggest: the story of all her trips to found out all she can about earthquakes. (That's the creative part of her creative nonfiction.) And she must have taken an incredible number of trips to write this book. Certainly an incredible number of trips through America. She visits just about everywhere in the country.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I had such a difficult time reading this book. I think it's mostly because it was stuffed full of dates, locations, and details about numerous earthquakes that I could never remember when Miles referenced those same earthquakes in later chapters. How many earthquakes were in Chile? Japan? California? Where's Loma Prieta? When was that? It was enough to make my head spin, trying to keep all of the earthquakes straight. Other reviewers said they found this book easily accessible and light on termin I had such a difficult time reading this book. I think it's mostly because it was stuffed full of dates, locations, and details about numerous earthquakes that I could never remember when Miles referenced those same earthquakes in later chapters. How many earthquakes were in Chile? Japan? California? Where's Loma Prieta? When was that? It was enough to make my head spin, trying to keep all of the earthquakes straight. Other reviewers said they found this book easily accessible and light on terminology, but I disagree. I love environmental sciences, but I often need concepts to be thoroughly explained with examples or comparisons to more simple concepts before I understand them, and that did not happen here. I didn't really learn much about earthquakes, faults, tsunamis, etc., from this book that I hadn't already learned in school. I also struggled with Miles' writing: she alternated between an academic/research-based style that worked for me and a casual "this guy I'm interviewing could be on The Sopranos" tone that I absolutely hated. I wanted her to pick a style and stick with it. That said, the only reason I didn't give up on this book was because the section on fracking drew me in. There was information I hadn't heard before, and there were examples that helped me understand what she was talking about. I learned that earthquakes can be man-made, and that was eye-opening for me. It helped me understand additional negative aspects of fracking that I had not considered before, and for that I am grateful. Unfortunately, though, that section was followed by more specific details that I had long since forgotten, so I lost interest again quickly. Read this if you're better than I am at keeping details straight and understanding science! It just wasn't my cup of tea.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    My Recommendation: Definitely worth the read. If you don't want to read it or don't have time, at the very least the Afterword is worth a read as it gives you a few quick steps that you can do anywhere in the world to be prepared for the inevitable. This book made me think about natural disasters, human nature, and human response/community. Miles did a great job of highlighting the unknown and what scientists are currently working on to find answers to the unknown and hammered home the importanc My Recommendation: Definitely worth the read. If you don't want to read it or don't have time, at the very least the Afterword is worth a read as it gives you a few quick steps that you can do anywhere in the world to be prepared for the inevitable. This book made me think about natural disasters, human nature, and human response/community. Miles did a great job of highlighting the unknown and what scientists are currently working on to find answers to the unknown and hammered home the importance of individuals and communities having plans for the inevitable earthquakes that will happen whenever they do in the US. My Response: I wasn't sure what to expect with this one when the publisher reached out to me about a few books way back in August of last year.* Quakeland caught my eye for the very reason any of those disaster movies (Twister, The Day After Tomorrow, San Andreas, Volcano, etc.) speak out to millions of people every year. We're fascinated by the potential destruction and yet completely disbelieving that it could happen to us. Fun fact, it can and will at some point (maybe not the Volcano story line) but according to this and a lot of scientists earthquakes could! The book started off a little slow after a powerful forward, but picked up pace the further I got into it, which was weird because the amount of science seemed to increase and I usually fall asleep when books get too technical. Click here to continue reading on my blog The Oddness of Moving Things. *I received a copy of Quakeland from the publisher in return for my honest opinion. No goods or cash were received.

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