Before opening this splendid record, prepare to be absorbed by the dramatic account of the eruption, intrigued by the variety of lite that survived or quickly colonized the devastated area, and dazzled by the stunning color photos that dominate nearly every page.
The simply worded text describes the natural events--200 mph blasts of steam, the ""stone wind"" that toppled and sandblasted large trees, mudflows thick enough to rip out steel bridges--that converted a verdant area to a wasteland aptly compared to the moon's surface. Before-and-after photos show how great a change was wrought. Recovery began almost immediately with the appearance of fire-fungi and fireweed, insects and burrowing mammals, airborne spiders and seeds. Lauber shows how this recovery has involved rebuilding a complex web of interdependencies: deer tracks break through the ash to make a seedbed for the grasses and flowers that feed and shelter pollinating insects, and so on.
Although more distant or long-range effects of the eruption are not described, this exemplary science book should have a large-scale effect on its readers. Index.