Volcanoes: Encounters through the Ages


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Volcanoes: Encounters through the Ages Author: Format: Paperback / softback First Published: Published By: Bodleian Library
string(3) "224"
Pages: 224 Illustrations and other contents: 83 Illustrations, color Language: English ISBN: 9781851244591 Categories: , , ,

For centuries, volcanic eruptions have captured our imaginations. Whether as signposts to an underworld, beacons to ancient mariners, or as an extraordinary manifestation of the natural world, volcanoes have intrigued many people, who have left records of their encounters in letters, reports and diaries and through sketches and illustrations. This book tells the stories of volcanic eruptions around the world, using original illustrations and first-hand accounts to explore how our understanding of volcanoes has evolved through time. Written accounts include Pliny’s description of the 79 CE eruption of Vesuvius, stories recounted by seventeenth-century sea-farers, and reports of expeditions made by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century natural historians, including Alexander von Humboldt and Charles Darwin. Illustrations range from fragments of scrolls, buried in the great eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii, to Athanasius Kircher’s extraordinarily detailed sketches, made in the seventeenth century, to the spectacular London sunsets caused by Krakatoa’s eruption in 1883. They also include the first photograph of a volcanic eruption and twenty-first-century imaging of Santorini. These varied and compelling accounts enrich our perspective on current studies of volcanoes and challenge us to think about how we might use our contemporary understanding of volcanology to prepare for the next big eruption.

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'A beautifully illustrated historical tour of Earth's most fascinating volcanoes. Pyle's scientific expertise combines with the Bodleian Library's collection of volcanic art to produce an engaging narrative of our fiery planet.' -- Alexandra Witze * co-author, Island on Fire: The extraordinary story of Laki (Profile Books, 2014) * 'A journey into the volcanic sublime.' -- Barbara Kiser * Nature * 'The highlight of this book are the numerous historical illustrations that were included in the exhibition and that are collected in this book. From woodcuts and paintings to old maps and the first photographs, this is a remarkable and beautiful collection. ... a must for anyone interested in volcanoes.' -- Leon Vlieger * NHBS *

Author Biography

David M. Pyle is a volcanologist and Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford.