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Eruptions That Shook the World

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  112 ratings  ·  13 reviews
What does it take for a volcanic eruption to really shake the world? Did volcanic eruptions extinguish the dinosaurs, or help humans to evolve, only to decimate their populations with a super-eruption 73,000 years ago? Did they contribute to the ebb and flow of ancient empires, the French Revolution and the rise of fascism in Europe in the 19th century? These are some of ...more
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published June 30th 2011 by Cambridge University Press (first published May 26th 2011)
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Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's hard to ignore someone when they've been in two of Werner Herzog's documentaries. Herzog has something of a grim reaper persona, if he ever darkens my doorway I expect to die soon, puts Clive Oppenheimer's perspective from geology to good use in the movie, Into the Inferno. Eruptions that Shook the World adds plenty of context to that movie in time, science, and human impact. He describes: the birth and death of species in terms of geologic time, Earth core structure, continental drift, ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
It takes a sincere and scientific interest in volcanic activity and its effects to get into this book, but for those with that kind of inclination, it is invaluable. Not narrative nonfiction, it is nevertheless an extremely clear and lucid examination of volcanic processes, historical impacts, and current studies on the topic. While there are portions that descend into chemistry and physics formulae, they are generally quite brief, and the vast majority is perfectly readable for an interested ...more
Oct 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Several parts of this book were a bit technical for a layman such as I, but that's my flaw not the book's. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I especially liked the way Clive gave other scientists' opinion, not a "I know it all" attitude. He also spent a good deal of the book citing what did happen to people and places in the past and what might happen in the future. Kind of scarey, yet people cope.
Treasa Lynch
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: earth-sciences
This book is excellent in terms of how it weaves a number of different sciences together to give a more complete picture of the impacts of historical volcanic eruptions.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is not just a book about volcanoes. This is a book about changing balances in the world told through the impact of volcanoes. It teaches about history and human society in a truly fascinating tale about how immense catastrophes can influence evolution as well as politics. No eruption has ever been unique, and the fallout will forever be just as varied and interesting.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Though I think this book is mainly aimed at an academic audience I really enjoyed it. I was nice to get past the simple mantle/magma/volcano diagram you see every where and learn more about what is going on. There were equations but I found it understandable.
The only problem I had with the book is a problem with the science. So often the author would talk about the size of volcanoes or modeling done or similar things and then explain how the results weren't entirely accurate because they had a
I got this book because it was mentioned favorably in a newspaper article and the topic is very interesting to me. Unfortunately, this book is not what I look for in my recreational reading. It reads much more like an academic journal article and about as disjointed had I jumped from journal to journal. A quotation from the preface: "I wrote this book because I became fascinated by the intersections of geology, climatology, ecology, archaeology and anthropology. ... It has been a challenge to ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I wanted so much more on the topic from less of a deep science POV. I am much more interested in the archaeological and cultural impacts of volcanism than I am in being hit over the head with sulphur emissions information. The ace ice is relevant....but so much of it? I ended up scrolling though about 75% of the book to get to the stories I wanted to read: displaced societies, eruptions in oral history, what has been found in various digs. Large scale events that affected the entire planet ...more
Jamie Farquharson
An excellent review of world-changing volcanic eruptions.

Oppenheimer brings together archaeology, documentary history, climate science, anthropology, volcanology, and numerous other disciplines in a manner both engaging and informative.
Michele bookloverforever
definitely written for students and academics but lots of really good information found even for a lay reader such as myself. the author leans towards the Deccan traps as the cause of dinosaur extinction rather than the asteroid theory. I think it was both.
Rachel (Sfogs)
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, non-fiction
This is an amazing book! So much information and knowledge. I just loved it!
Doris Raines
I. Want. This. Book. In. My. Libary.
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“the largest eruptions in future are likely to come from previously little-known, even unheard-of, volcanoes.” 0 likes
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