The Dynamics of Disaster

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Natural disasters bedevil our planet, and each appears to be a unique event. Leading geologist Susan W. Kieffer shows how all disasters are connected.

In 2011 there were fourteen natural calamities that each destroyed over a billion dollars' worth of property in the United States alone. In 2012 Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast and major earthquakes struck in Italy, the Philippines, Iran, and Afghanistan. In the first half of 2013 the awful drumbeat continued - a monster super tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma; a powerful earthquake shook Sichuan, China; a cyclone ravaged Queensland, Australia; massive floods inundated Jakarta, Indonesia; and the largest wildfire ever engulfed a large part of Colorado.

Despite these events, we still behave as if natural disasters are outliers. Why else would we continue to build new communities near active volcanoes, on tectonically active faults, on flood plains, and in areas routinely lashed by vicious storms?

In this unique audiobook, Susan W. Kieffer provides a primer on most types of natural disasters: earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, landslides, hurricanes, cyclones, and tornadoes. By taking us behind the scenes of the underlying geology that causes them, she shows why natural disasters are more common than we realize and that their impact on us will increase as our growing population crowds us into ever more vulnerable areas.

Kieffer describes how natural disasters result from "changes in state" in a geologic system, much as when water turns to steam. By understanding what causes these changes of state, we can begin to understand the dynamics of natural disasters.

Finally, Kieffer outlines how we might better prepare for, and in some cases prevent, future disasters. She also calls for the creation of an organization, something akin to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is focused on pending natural disasters.

©2013 Susan W. Kieffer (P)2013 AudioGO

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