On August 5, 2010, 33 miners were trapped 2,300 feet underground in northern Chile’s unsafe San José mine, setting off a story that captured the attention of the world, “from experts on outer space to drill bit manufacturers from Pennsylvania, from nutritionists to camera crews.”
Leave it to Aronson to set the context for the event by going back in time 40 million years to the “great dance of the shifting continents” and the rise of the Himalayas, the creation of the polar ice caps and the formation of the Nazca Plate. This last pushed itself under the continent of South America, where cracks, crevices and deep veins hold treasures of gold, silver and copper. No one would ever come to the lifeless deserts of northern Chile if it weren’t for the mines, which help supply the 16 pounds of copper the average American uses in a year. The rescue of the miners after 69 days was a story of hope, prayer and technological skill. Photographs, maps, diagrams and a wild range of literary references, from Merlin to Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Hephaistos, enliven the volume. The author uses these familiar touch points to help tell a complicated story, blending them with such highly technical information as mining machinery to keep his narrative flowing.
Aronson’s first work about a current event may leave readers feeling claustrophobic, but they’ll be inspired by this modern-day tale of survival. (source notes, list of interviews, websites) (Nonfiction. 9-14)