Their Assessment, Avoidance and Mitigation
By Fred G. Bell
E & FN Spon (1999)
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness
Geological Hazards: Their Assessment, Avoidance and Mitigation, by Fred G. Bell, offers students a through introduction into the study of geological hazards, both natural and manmade. The topics covered range from how to read Hazard Maps to erosion control and sabkha soil conditions. The text is divided into twelve thematic sections which are:
Within each section are several subsections that discuss the basics of the topic being covered, the hazards posed by various conditions, and how to assess the potential damage that could be caused if specific conditions exist or arise in a given area. Besides discussing how to identify potential and likely hazards, this text also provides information that will help you learn how to avoid or mitigate the dangers posed by these geohazards. This information will be of particular value to students pursuing careers in geology and engineering.
- Geohazards: Assessment and Planning
Includes risk assessment, hazard map reading, and the uses of remote sensing and aerial photography in assessing various hazards and planning for their mitigation.
- Volcanic Activity
This section offers a basic overview of volcanism and the various types of volcanoes and volcanic flows and materials and our current ability to predict an eruption.
- Earthquake Activity
The basics of seismology, the effects of seismic activities on the land, and on structures, including dams and seismic zoning are all covered in this section, and an overview of how seismic activity can be induced by man.
- Mass Movements
Including, soil creep, landslides, and slope stabilization methods.
- Problem Soils
Not only are quicksands, clays, dispersive soils, quick clays and the soils of arid regions discussed in this chapter, but so are frozen soils.
- River Action and Control
Primarily concerns the fluvial processes the effect, problems, and hazards posed by runoff and flooding.
- Marine Action and Control
This section covers the effect of marine actions on costal regions, and covers waves, tides, beach zones, coastal erosion, beach drift, storm surges, tsunamis, and protective barriers. Also covered are planning and protective measures that can be used to protect coastal regions.
- Wind Action and Arid Regions
Provides a brief introduction to the intriguing subject of wind action and arid regions, and then goes on to discuss desert dunes, dust and sand movement, stream action and flooding in arid regions, sabkha soils, and salt weathering.
- Soil Erosion and Desertification
Includes the various means of soil erosion and how desertification can occur, and the steps that can be useful in preventing the loss of soil. Also included is a detailed analysis of the 'Universal Soil Loss Equation', including exactly what it means, and the usefulness of the information it provides.
- Waste and its Disposal
This is a growing problem that can have long reaching effects, both in time and distance. Topics covered included the disposal of hazardous waste, including radioactive waste, mine waste, domestic waste, and the remediation of contaminated soil.
- Groundwater Pollution
Covers how ground water quality is assessed, the effect various rock types have on water quality, well design and the effects of over drawing, saline infiltration into fresh water supplies, various causes of ground water pollution, and how groundwater can be monitored, and artificially recharged when needed.
- Ground Subsidence
This last section deals with a variety of situations that can result in ground subsidence, but primarily concentrate on the problems caused by mining operations.
This book is copiously illustrated and it includes a plethora of maps, charts, diagrams, and other useful illustrations that help to elucidate the text. As well, at the end of each section is a detailed list of references that can be used to further your study on a particular topic. Although this book can be used for a lower level, introductory course in environmental geology, it is much more suited to upper-level undergraduate students, and as a reference book for graduate students and professionals working in the field. If used as a textbook for geology and environmental engineering students, the student will be best served if they have taken at least one course in physical geology and an advance math course.
Overall, this is an excellent text. It provides enough basic information to allow someone who does not have a firm grasp of geology to understand the principles under discussion. At the same time it is detailed, and informative enough, to engage the minds of students and professionals alike. Besides detailing the various geological hazards that exist and the manmade activity that can cause or exacerbate a problem, Bell also offers workable solutions and scenarios that the reader can use to help plan for and solve problems in their area of expertise. Geological Hazards: Their Assessment, Avoidance and Mitigation will serve as a splendid addition to the classroom, and on the reference shelf.
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