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The Encyclopedia of Volcanoes, 2e

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The Encyclopedia of Volcanoes, Second Edition
Editor-in-Chief Haraldur Sigurdsson
Academic Press: An Imprint of Elsevier (2015)
ISBN: 978-0-12-385938-9

Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - July 23, 2015

Volcanoes offer scientists a unique glimpse into the inner working of the earth, and by extrapolation, into the inner workings of other worlds. They are also, if the truth be told, simply neat! The second edition of The Encyclopedia of Volcanoes offers the best of both worlds. It provides an in-depth and scientific overview of volcanoes including how they are formed and monitored, but it also examines such unique topics as volcanoes in art and volcano tourism. Edited by Haraldur Sigurdsson, The Encyclopedia of Volcanoes is a monumental work that includes essays from world renowned scientist in such diverse, yet related fields, as volcanology, hazard mitigation, earth science, disaster preparedness, oceanography, and many more... The second edition of this book has been fully revised and updated, and it is the most comprehensive referenced book on volcanism that I've ever come across.

In all, this book contains 78 chapters. Each chapter begins with a glossary of terms and an introduction, and each ends with a list of further readings. Many of the chapters also included a chapter summary or conclusion. Each chapter constitutes a single essay written by experts in the relevant fields. Chapters included cover such themes as The History of Volcanology, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism, Chemical Thermodynamics and the Study of Magmas, Sizes of Volcanic Eruptions, Primary Volcanic Landforms, Submarine Lavas and Hyaloclastite, Glaciovolcanism, Hawaiian and Strombolian Eruptions, Volcanic Plumes, Volcanism on Mercury, Seafloor Hydrothermal Venting at Volcanic Arcs and Backarcs, Climatic Impacts of Volcanic Eruptions, Gas, Plume, and Thermal Monitoring, and Volcanic Materials in Commerce and Industry. These chapters are further organized into thematic sections that include topics such as the Origin and Transport of Magma, Eruptions, Effusive Volcanism, Explosive Volcanism, Extraterrestrial Volcanism, Volcanic Interactions, Volcanic Hazards, Eruption Response and Mitigation, and Economic Benefits and Cultural Aspects of Volcanism. By just glancing at their brief list you can begin to get an idea of the breadth and scope of this monumental work.

The text of this massive book, (it comes in at more than 1,400 pages), is enhanced by the inclusion of breathtaking illustrations along with a host of helpful charts, graphs, maps, and related figures that serve to expand upon the text. Although written to the highest scientific standards, this book is accessible to not only scientists but also students and interested lay readers who have a basic understanding of chemistry and geology. The glossary of terms that precede each chapter will help you better understand the text if you happen to hit any snags, and the further reading sections will provide you with direction for further study on this fascinating topic.

From the title of this book you might have expected to find individual entries on major eruptions or active volcanoes. While you will find a great deal of information in this book on both past and current volcanoes, the main purpose of this book it to provide a comprehensive overview of what is currently known about volcanoes and vulcanology, rather than to simply chronicle the various volcanoes that exist. After reading and studying this intuitively organized book, you will have gained an excellent grasp of the field of volcanology and the current level of knowledge that exists about volcanoes - and some of the questions that still need to be answered. The Encyclopedia of Volcanoes is sure to become an instant classic as both a textbook and as a reference book. It is a book that deserves a place in every academic library, and in the personal library of anyone interested in geoscience, volcanism, or any related field, including those interested in the history of ancient eruptions.

Related Reviews:

Geological Hazards: Their Assessment, Avoidance and Mitigation, by Fred G. Bell.
This book offers a through introduction into the study of geological hazards, both natural and manmade. These hazards run the gamut from volcanic activity to ground water contamination.

Elements of Petroleum Geology, 3e, by Richard C. Selley and Stephen A. Sonnenberg.
Fully updated and revised, this new edition of Elements of Petroleum Geology is essential reading for students and oil industry professionals of every ilk. It also offers motivated amateurs with a detailed and understandable introduction to the rapidly changing field of petroleum geoscience.

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