The Dynamics of Disaster
Natural disasters bedevil our planet, and each appears to be a unique event. Leading geologist Susan W. Kieffer shows how all disasters are connected.
Humans persist in building centres of civilisation in places of past disasters as we believe that our technology will protect us next time. Yet we rarely win these battles with the earth because we don’t understand natural disasters deeply enough.
Susan Kieffer’s book explains how the dynamics—the workings—of disasters are connected by a small number of natural laws. She goes on to show how the most obvious process in a disaster is not always the one that causes the devastation. For instance, the transformation of apparently solid ground into a substance like quicksand during the 2010 Haiti earthquake is what caused the destruction of Port au Prince.
Kieffer argues that only by understanding the dynamics of natural disasters can we begin to institute engineering and policy practices to minimise their impact on our lives.
“Anyone interested in the processes that underlie catastrophic events within Earth will welcome this book, part riveting and all informative.” — Nature
“This book ought to be placed in the hands of politicians, engineers, insurance assessors and, frankly, anyone who sees sense in understanding the processes and systems that guide our planet.” — Geographical Magazine
“...the clarity of Kieffer's writing, coupled with her careful choice of supporting graphics, makes the content engaging and accessible to a wide readership.” — Times Higher Education
“...brisk and lucid presentation...” — The Times Literary Supplement
“Kieffer takes a novel approach that involves thinking about natural catastrophes in terms of changes to 'systems' that otherwise present no threat.” — BBC Focus
“...Kieffer...uses her deep expertise in the physics of geological processes to give an unconventional and insightful treatment of natural hazards...” — Physics World