Saturday, April 23, 2011


Devastation and Destruction.    
Earthquakes by Seymour Simon is a visually remarkable book with high quality, full-color photographs.  Each page throughout the book illustrates the magnitude and depth of destruction that can occur after an earthquake.  There are also diagrams included to depict the earthquake zones in the United States.  There is a map that shows the plates in the earth’s crust and red dots that shows where earthquakes have occurred around the world.   The photos alone tell a story about how devastating an earthquake can be.
Seymour Simon does a great job of explaining where earthquakes take place and how that impacts us.  He uses some scientific language, yet there is an analogy provided that a child would understand.  For example, “In one type of fault, called a strike-slip fault, the rocks on one side of the fault try to move past the rocks on the other side, causing energy to build up.  For years, friction will hold the rocks in place.  But finally, like a stretched rubber band, the rocks suddenly snap past each other.  The place where this happens is called the focus of an earthquake.” 
He includes facts about the Pacific Ring of Fire; faults, the San Andreas; strike and dip- slips; seismographs; the Richter and Mercali Intensity Scales; and sand boils.  With all of this terminology he does a fantastic job of describing these words so that a child is able to understand what he is talking about.  For example, “Sand, mud, and water sometimes bubble up during earthquakes, gushing water and soil like miniature mud volcanoes.  These “sand boils” are particularly dangerous to buildings.”
At the back of the book there is a glossary, an index, and a web address to read more about it at the Smithsonian Institute.
Simon’s descriptions and photos will give the reader a better understanding of the causes of earthquakes and their effects.   There will no doubt be a new appreciation for the force and magnitude behind an earthquake.  Some informational books can be intimidating, this book is inviting and non-threatening.

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