A general discussion of the different kinds of earthquakes, their effects, and the state of earthquake prediction today. Poynter discusses the development of seismology; what it teaches about movement and stress in the earth's crust; famous quakes; tsunamis (seismic sea waves); the measuring of quakes--""P"" and ""S"" waves, the difference between intensity and magnitude; and how soil structure can magnify an earthquake's destructive power. She also mentions some phenomena thought to be early warning signs (stressing that these are often unreliable), tells how to prepare for a quake and what to do during and after one, mentions earthquake-resistant architecture (without going into detail), and warns against building chemical or nuclear facilities near fault lines. Despite plenty of examples and anecdotes, though, this has a dry, formal tone; readers will find Vogt's Predicting Earthquakes (1989) livelier, though longer. Still, an adequate additional purchase. Bibliography; glossary; index. Illustrations not seen.