About this book
This richly illustrated pictorial history of natural disasters has been composed from a large selection of images of a wide variety of sources, mostly private collections. These include reproductions of rare engravings, maps both old and new, sketches, and diagrams. The individual full-page reproductions give historical views on natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, avalanches, landslides and rock falls. The illustrations are accompanied by text describing the geophysical and historical background of the disasters, the origin of each of the engravings and stories behind the events.
At the forefront of this book are the fascinating depictions of famous disasters that occurred from the 14th to the 19th centuries. These include those at Basel in 1356, Tokyo in 1650, Constantinople in 1762, as well as the eruption of Etna in 1669 and the San Francisco earthquakes of 1868 and 1909. The authors move on into the era of living memory too, covering a variety of more recent earthquakes with consequences still felt today.
The text of the book goes much further, introducing the reader to the development of the modern view on the dynamical manifestations of the Earth, its structure, and the internal forces that create the conditions for catastrophic events. This is complemented and enriched by maps together with selected larger plates illustrating the early conceptions of the Earth. Finally, the authors present a chronological record of the major milestones in the development of seismology.
This book is valuable not only as a scientific chronicle of natural disasters, but also due to its artistic, cultural and historical merits.
Key themes: history, engravings, natural disasters, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes
Both authors are senior research scientists in the Geophysical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Jan Kozák was originally engaged in laboratory seismology and later moved to historical studies in seismology and volcanology. In addition to his scientific work, he has been an ardent collector of old prints; within the last 40 years he collected one of the world largest series – over 2300 of pre-photographic depictions of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. Among his 170 publications there are over ten books of pictorial character dealing mostly with the Earth sciences, and also with historical architecture and European history.
Vladimír Cermák is an internationally recognized expert in geothermics, he has coordinated several research programs and convened a number of international symposia and workshops. He pioneered the basic heat flow studies in Europe; he is the author and co-author of several books, atlases and over 200 papers published in various international geological and geophysical journals. V. Cermák served as the Director of the Geophysical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (1990-1998), was the Vice-President of the European Geophysical Society (1994-1998), and Chairman of the International Heat Flow Commission of the IASPEI (1995-1999). Currently he is a member of the Academia Europea, German Geophysical Society and American Geophysical Union. He is also the current President of the Czech National Committee of Geodesy and Geophysics.