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ERUPTION! by Elizabeth Rusch Kirkus Star


Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives

From the Scientists in the Field series

by Elizabeth Rusch ; photographed by Tom Uhlman

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: June 18th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-547-50350-9
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Rusch (Mighty Mars Rovers, 2012) cranks up the pressure as she portrays scientists whose work requires getting entirely too close to active or soon-to-be-active volcanoes.

This entry in the Scientists in the Field series is highlighted by dramatic accounts of three massive modern eruptions: Colombia’s Nevado del Ruiz in 1985, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines (1991) and Mount Merapi (2010) in Indonesia. Rusch follows members of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, the “first and only international volcano crisis team,” to those and other sites, providing plenty of maps, subterranean diagrams and photos of team members working both in labs and on site with local scientists for visual aids. She explains how volcanologists have learned to identify and evaluate the often ambiguous warning signs of impending disaster in time to make informed decisions about when and how far to evacuate nearby residents (not to mention themselves). Her descriptions, as well as Uhlman’s before-and-after photos will leave readers with vivid impressions of the massive destruction that lava bombs, pyroclastic flows and heavy rains of ash can, do and inevitably will wreak.

High-stakes science, portrayed in one of the scarier entries in this bar-setting series. (glossary, notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)