PD Dr. Ulrich Knittel:
von Peter Francis und Clive Oppenheimer
Oxford University Press
Euro 44,20 bei www.buecher.de
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This is the second edition of the book 'Volcanoes - a Planetary Perspective' by Peter Francis. Clive Oppenheimer has taken care of this revision in place of Peter Francis, who died all too early. The quality of this book is shown for example by the fact, that it was not necessary to revise the chapter on volcanism on the Moon, Venus, Mars and the moons of the gas planets. Hence, the new edition is most welcome!
In 18 chapters most (all?) important aspects of volcanoes are described, some 40 pages are devoted to extraterrestrial volcanism. Introductory chapters describe the make-up of the earth and origins of volcanism.
An important chapter (chap. 3) is devoted to 'Four classic Eruptions', i.e. the Vesuvius eruption of 79 AD and the eruptions of Krakatau, Montage Pelée and Mount St. Helens. In the succeeding chapters, repeated reference is made to these eruptions, i.e. the narrative account of the eruptions in chapter three is followed by detailed presentations of the findings of scientific studies devoted to these eruptions. In these presentations, not only 'accepted facts', but also current and former controversies are discussed.
Chapter 5 which is of particular use for the non-specialist, as here the authors provide a good summary of volcanic activity. Hence, after consuming this chapter, the reader should be able to fit the detailed information contained in the succeeding chapters into the great picture.
In part, reading this book is simply a pleasure, as Francis and Oppenheimer write in a very clear and precise style, adding occasionally the odd joke ('what goes up must come down', chapter 8). Also, it is noteworthy that Oppenheimer was able to include a surprising number of references to recent events, such as the eruption on Montserrat.
Unfortunately, the photos are all in b-w (otherwise the book would be to expensive?).They are also found at high resolution on the companion web-site, also in s-w. Some colour photos are found, however, in Volcano World.
To the present writer, this book is the best work on volcanoes and volcanology. Similar quality is only found in the book of H.-U. Schmincke that contains color photos and even better graphics. While Schmincke's book is very readable for laymen, the level of this book is slightly higher and thus more tuned to students of earth sciences. Nevertheless, the clarity of the presentation makes this book very readable for the educated non-specialist. Personally, I consider the inclusion of extraterrestrial volcanism as one of the highpoints of this book. I thus conclude: simply the best!
Dr. Ulrich Knittel