The Big One: The Cascadia Earthquakes and the Science of Saving Lives

HMH. (Scientists in the Field). Aug. 2020. 80p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780544889040.
Gr 5-8–Up until the 1960s, geologists had little idea what caused earthquakes. Following a discovery initially made by geologist and cartographer Marie Tharp during World War II, scientists revisited the idea of continental drift, an early 20th-century theory developed by German meteorologist Alfred Wegener. In the decades since the return to Wegener’s theory, the science of plate tectonics has helped clarify why earthquakes happen and how they might be accurately predicted. Several chapters detail scientific fieldwork, including climbing mountains to set and maintain instruments and visiting remote ponds to gather core samples of the muck beneath. The work described is assisted by graduate students or even undergraduates, providing encouragement to budding scientists. The book is elaborately illustrated, often with full-page color photos of scientists and students at work, along with relevant and clearly presented maps and diagrams. Closing chapters outline widespread efforts to prepare for a devastating earthquake in the northwest U.S. In addition to the recommended further reading, Rusch offers a lengthy source list, including personal interviews as well as articles, websites, and books.
VERDICT A first-rate resource. Highly recommended for elementary and middle schools, particularly those with a STEM focus.

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