The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet by Henry Fountain

The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet

In the tradition of Erik Larson's Isaac's Storm, a riveting narrative about the biggest earthquake in recorded history in North America--the 1964 Alaskan earthquake that demolished the city of Valdez and obliterated the coastal village of Chenega--and the scientist sent to look for geological clues to explain the dynamics of earthquakes, who helped to confirm the then cont...

Title:The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet
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ISBN:1101904062

The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet Reviews

  • Michael

    I received this book through a Good Reads "First Reads" Give-away. A very entertaining read, Fountain covers not just the earthquake that struck Alaska on March 27, 1964, but also explores the evolution of the theory of plate tectonics and the history of several of the communities (e.g., Anchorage, Valdez, and particularly the small village of Chenega) hardest hit by the devastating quake and/or the resulting tsunamis. The author is equally adept at capturing the terror and destruction of the di

    I received this book through a Good Reads "First Reads" Give-away. A very entertaining read, Fountain covers not just the earthquake that struck Alaska on March 27, 1964, but also explores the evolution of the theory of plate tectonics and the history of several of the communities (e.g., Anchorage, Valdez, and particularly the small village of Chenega) hardest hit by the devastating quake and/or the resulting tsunamis. The author is equally adept at capturing the terror and destruction of the disaster itself and explaining how scientists' understanding of the underlying causes of earthquakes evolved (and how the 1964 quake contributed to that understanding). I received an uncorrected proof and assume the print version will have pictures whereas the proof did not - I did find some photos that were taken of Anchorage after the quake and it further put the magnitude of this disaster in perspective, they are quite unnerving.

  • Montzalee Wittmann

    The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet by Henry Fountain is a wonderful history and science book that I enjoyed thoroughly. Two subjects I love and earthquakes are exciting and scary at the same time. It was interesting to find out about what life was like in Alaska before the quakes and after the big quake. Individual stories and an overall view of society prior, during, and after. A lot of wonderful information in a way that did no

    The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet by Henry Fountain is a wonderful history and science book that I enjoyed thoroughly. Two subjects I love and earthquakes are exciting and scary at the same time. It was interesting to find out about what life was like in Alaska before the quakes and after the big quake. Individual stories and an overall view of society prior, during, and after. A lot of wonderful information in a way that did not focus on a political point but on a personal view, even from the history of it. Very interesting.

  • Nancy

    When I was growing up in the early 1960s my grandfather was corresponding with Maurice Ewing and William Donn of the Lamont Geological Observatory. Gramps had been interested in their work since 1958 when he read a Harper's Magazine article by Betty Friedan called The Coming Ice Age about their research.

    I didn't know that Project Moho, drilling cores in the deep sea, how to stop the next Ice Age, and Plate Tectonics was not normal dinner table talk. Gramps even got his old college buddy Roger Bl

    When I was growing up in the early 1960s my grandfather was corresponding with Maurice Ewing and William Donn of the Lamont Geological Observatory. Gramps had been interested in their work since 1958 when he read a Harper's Magazine article by Betty Friedan called The Coming Ice Age about their research.

    I didn't know that Project Moho, drilling cores in the deep sea, how to stop the next Ice Age, and Plate Tectonics was not normal dinner table talk. Gramps even got his old college buddy Roger Blough, then president of U. S. Steel, to kick in some funding for their research.

    Before 1971 when I took Historical Geology in college I had no idea that Plate Tectonics was a 'new' theory. I'd grown up with it.

    I requested The Great Quake:How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet by Henry Fountain from First to Read because I like geology and enjoy reading about Alaska. I was excited to learn it was about the very research that proved Plate Tectonics.

    Fountain introduces us to the people of several small Alaskan villages along the coast, recounting their history and way of life. The families have Russian last names, a legacy when Russia turned the native population into virtual slaves. They live on a subsistence level, their traditional hunting and fishing impacted by factory fishing.

    In 1964, on Good Friday, a 9.8 earthquake wrecked havoc and destroyed the villages, claiming the lives of 130 people. It is devastating to read about the tsunamis that wiped the land clean not only of people and houses but trees and the loose rocky layer on the shore.

    Geologist George Plafker was very familiar with the area. The day after the quake he flew over the area. His observations led to proving the controversial theory of Plate Tectonics that even Maurice Ewing did not yet subscribe to!

    The book reads like popular disaster books such as Dead Wake by Eric Larson, setting up the people and history, recreating the horror of the disaster, and then cogently explaining how Plafker's research impacted the scientific community. Readers can expect to learn Alaskan history and geography, be moved by the horror of the destruction, and brought to understand this planet we live on.

    I received a free ebook through First to Read in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

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