Recommended Reading for the Changing Earth

For Adults

Nature of the Stratigraphical Record, by Derek V. Ager
Age: Adult/Young Adult. Paperback: ISBN 0471938084
Referred to as a provocative book of commentary on the general pattern of earth history. Twenty years after publication, it still drives us to try and understand the how and why of the sedimentary rock record.

The Orphan Tsunami of 1700, by Brian F. Atwater
Age: Adult.  Paperback: ISBN 978-1-56025-972-5
Tells of a catastrophic event offshore of Northwest US, a century before Lewis and Clark’s expedition, that caused a tsunami  in Japan. Japanese documents and North American sediments are the primary sources of data in this detective story. A rich array of graphic detail and narrative explains the creation, action, and lasting effects of earthquakes and tsunamis.

When the Earth Moves: Rogue Earthquakes, Tremors, and Aftershocks, by Patricia Barnes-Svarney
Age: Adult.  Paperback: ISBN 0-295-98535-6
Explores the basics of earthquakes, examines quakes that occurred in unusual locations, includes eyewitness accounts of the destructive shocks, and suggests how to prepare for the potential future earthquake.

Earthquakes, by Bruce A. Bolt
Age: Adult.
A historical view of earthquakes and our evolving attempts to understand and predict them.

Earthquakes and Geological Discovery, by Bruce A. Bolt
Age: Adult/Young Adult. Hardcover: ISBN 10403213
Describes how and why scientists trace seismic activity and mearue the extent and patterns of seismic waves.

Earthquakes and Volcanoes: Readings from Scientific American, introductions by Bruce A. Bolt
Age: Adult
Essays at varying levels of technical difficulty, with excellent maps, diagrams, and aerial photographs of faultlines.

Earthquakes: Science & Society , by David S. Brumbaugh
Age: Adult/Young Adult. Paperback: ISBN 0321612280
Broad introduction to the study of earthquakes.

City of Heroes: The Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886, by Richard N. Côté
Age: Adult
Heavily illustrated book with first-hand accounts of the 1886 Charleston earthquake, drawn from newspapers, personal diaries, journals, and letters of the earthquake survivors.

Magnitude 8: Earthquakes and Life Along the San Andreas Fault, by Philip Fradkin
Age: Adult
Vivid portrayals of the land people along the fault, good science of earthquakes.

Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, by Stephen J. Gould
Age: Adult. Paperback: ISBN 039330700X, Hardcover: ISBN 0735100314
This book is about the Cambrian explosion of life and the Burgess Shale.

Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time (Jerusalem-Harvard Lectures), by Stephen J. Gould
Age: Adult. Paperback: ISBN 0674891996
This book is about geologic time and the history of geology.

Alaska Earthquake: Where Were You?, compiled by Joy Griffin
Age: Adult/Young Adult
First-person accounts of the 1964 Alaska earthquake tell what it’s like to experience a big one.

Earthquakes and Earth Structure, by John H. Hodgson
Age: Adult.
Explores historical earthquakes that illustrate different aspects of seismology and theory.

Finding Fault in California, by Susan Elizabeth Hough
Age: Adult.
Leads the earthquake curious to the state's most accessible, active, and earth-shaping faults and tells the stories behind the major temblors that have shaken the region.

After the Earth Quakes: Elastic Rebound on an Urban Planet, by Susan E. Hough, Roger Bilham
Age: Adult.
Examination of the collective responses of developed societies to major earthquake disasters.

Predicting the Unpredictable: The Tumultuous Science of Earthquake Prediction, by Susan Hough
Age: Adult/Young Adult. Hardcopy: ISBN 9780691138169

This Dynamic Earth: The Story of Plate Tectonics, by Jacquelyne Kious, Robert I. Tilling
Age: Adult/Yound Adult. Paperback: ISBN 0160482208 or online at
An excellent USGS publication with lots of great pictures!  Includes information about the discovery and science of plate tectonics.

Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault, by David K. Lynch
Age: Adult. Spiral-bound. Also available in CD.
See and touch the world's most famous fault on one of twelve easy day trips between Cape Mendocino and the Mexican Border. Mile-by-mile road logs, GPS coordinates for hundreds of fault features and accurate fault coordinates (± 100 ft). Full color, 210 pages,140 figures and photographs.

Why the Earth Quakes: The Story of Earthquakes & Volcanoes, by Matthys Levy, Mario Salvadori
Age: Adult. Paperback: ISBN 0393315274, Hardcopy: 0393037746
The authors examine famous instances of exploding volcanoes and devastating earthquakes, reliably giving the figures on casualties and Richter magnitudes and leavening the grimness with notes about why, for example, a Frank Lloyd Wright hotel withstood the 1923 Tokyo earthquake.

Control of Nature, by John McPhee
Age: Adults/Young Adult. Paperback: ISBN 0374522596
This book describes three settings-Iceland; Louisiana; and Los Angeles-where people are trying to control nature and winning or losing to various degrees. McPhee tells the essential human side of the drama to answer the questions: Why are we doing this and can we win?

Basin and Range, by John McPhee
Age: Adult/Young Adult. Paperback: ISBN 0374516901, Hardcover: ISBN 0374109141
This book shows how rocks seen in road cuts can tell us about the history of North America. It is an excellent introduction to the theory of plate tectonics. Part of the Annals of the Former World Collection.

In Suspect Terrain, by John McPhee
Age: Adult/Young Adult. Paperback: ISBN 0374517940, Hardcover: ISBN 0374176507
Interesting book about the complex geology of the Delaware Water Gap area. Examines the ability of current theories to explain the geology. Part of the Annals of the Former World Collection.

Rising from the Plains, by John McPhee
Age: Adult/Young Adult. Paperback: ISBN 0374520658, Hardcover: ISBN 0374250820
Well written book which interweaves the geologic history of Wyoming with stories of contemporary Wyoming life. Part of the Annals of the Former World Collection.

Assembling California, by John McPhee
Age: Adult/Young Adult. Paperback: ISBN 0374523932, Hardcover: ISBN 0374106452
A discussion of the geological history of California, both natural and man-made. Part of the Annals of the Former World Collection.

Powers of Nature, by National Geographic, Special Publications Division
Age: Adult
Many personal accounts of earthquakes and other natural disasters.

The Last Day: Wrath, Ruin, and Reason in the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, by Nicholas Shrady
Age: Adult Paperback: ISBN 0670018511
A historical look at the catastrophic 1755 Lisbon Earthquake and its impact on Western society.

The Earth in turmoil; earthquakes, volcanoes, and their impact on humankind, by Kerry Sieh
Age: Adult/Young Adult. ISBN 0716736519, Hardcover: ISBN 0716731517
Outlines the latest tectonic theories and analyzes some key geological events in detail.

San Francisco is Burning: The Untold Story of the 1906 Earthquake and Fires, by Dennis Smith
Age: Adult/Young Adult. ISBN 0670034428
A recount of the tragedy through the experiences of various people who were there.

15: Fifteen Seconds: The Great California Earthquake of 1989, by Tides Foundation
Age: Adult/Young Adult
Color photos and short well-chosen quotes tell the story of the Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area and Peninsula.

1001 Questions Answered About Earthquakes, Avalanches, Floods and Other Natural Disasters, by Barbara Tufty
Age: Adult/Young Adult
A basic FAQ on natural disasters with some black & white photos.

Earthquakes and Volcanoes, by Robert Muir Wood
Age: Adult/Young Adult
Colorful diagrams of how they come about, timeline.  Gives a sense of what an earthquake scientists’s job is like.

The Geology of Earthquakes, by Robert S Yeats,  Kerry Sieh, Clarence R. Allen
Age: Adult/Young Adult. Hardcopy: ISBN: 0195078276
Describes the elements of geology that are fundamental to earthquakes.

A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906, by Simon Winchester
Age: Adult/Young Adult. Hardcopy
A new look at an old earthquake that marked the beginning of earthquake seismology in the US; some of the earthquake science isn’t quite accurate.

Roadside Geology , author varies by book
Age: Adult/Young Adult. Format and ISBN depends on the state.
Written by local experts, this wonderful collection of books contains accessible information on state geology, especially that visible from major highways. Almost every state is represented by an individual book (i.e. The Roadside Geology of Utah). Don't do a road trip without it!

2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake, by Various
Age: Adult Hardcover: ISBN 0956883621
Book consists of first hand accounts and experiences from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

An excellent overview of the science of prediction.

For Kids

Fossils Tell of Long Ago, by Aliki
Grades K–3. Paperback: ISBN 0064450937, Hardcover: ISBN 0690048297
Tells about the formation of fossils and clues they give us in interpreting past environments.

Geology Crafts for Kids: 50 Nifty Projects to Explore the Marvels of Planet Earth, by Alan Anderson, Gwen Diehn, Terry Krautwurst
Grades 4–7. Paperback: ISBN 0806981571, Hardcover: ISBN 0806981563
General earth science activities explore subjects such as volcanoes, fossils, rocks & minerals, and erosion.

Everybody Needs a Rock, by Byrd Baylor, Peter Parnall
Grades K–3. Paperback: ISBN 0689710518, Hardcopy: ISBN 0684138999
A neat book full of earnest advice about picking out the perfect "pet" rock.

Historical Catastrophes, by Billye Walker Brown and Walter R. Brown
Grades 6-8
Stories of eight historic quakes, illustrated with black & white photos and woodcuts.

Magic School Bus inside the Earth, by Joanna Cole
Grades K–3. Paperback: ISBN 0590407600, Hardcover: 0590407597
Gives excellent details beyond the central story line that fills in more of the geology.

Measuring Earthquakes, by Nancy Cook
Grades 7-12.
Math activities based on seismology, the Richter scale, and powers of ten.  Graphs, worksheets, and some maps.

Time for Kids: Earthquakes!, by the Editors of Time for Kids with Barbara Collier Grades K-3. Paperback: ISBN 0060782110 An introduction to earthquakes and the work scientists perform to study them.

Planet Earth, Inside Out , by Gail Gibbons
Grades K–3. Paperback: ISBN 0688158498, Hardcover: ISBN 0688096808
A simple, clear introduction to earth science, covering Earth's genesis, composition, and continuing morphology. Good descriptions of complex processes.

Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters, by Harriet Griffey Grades 4-7. Paperback: ISBN 0756659329 Tells of the science behind natural disasters.

Earth (Connections), by Caroline Grimshaw, Iqbal Hussain, Nick Duffy, Spike Gerrell
Grades 4–7. Paperback: ISBN 0716613050, Hardcover: ISBN 1568474539
Deals with basic geoscience questions such as the origin of Earth and geological/biological changes through time.

Big Rock, by Bruce Hiscock
Grades 4–7. Paperback: ISBN 0689829582, Hardcover: ISBN 0689314027
Looks at how a granite rock near the author's house reveals information about Earth history.

Earthquake Games: Earthquakes and Volcanoes Explained by 32 Games and Experiments, by Matthys Levy and Mario Salvadori
Grades K–8.
Line drawings and diagrams, some activities could be adapted for science fairs.

Our Violent Earth, by National Geographic Society
Grades 6-9
Big colorful photos and charts, with concise text and a folder of classroom activities about earthquakes and other extremes of nature.

Eyewitness Explorers: Rocks & Minerals, by Steve Parker, Peter Visscher, Raymond Turvey, N. J. Hewetson
Grades K–3. Paperback: ISBN 0789416824
Kids can learn about fossils as well as the properties of common rocks and minerals.

Understanding Earth (2nd Edit): No Stone Unturned : Reasoning About Rocks and Fossils , by Frank Press, Raymond Siever, E. K. Peters
Grades 9–Adult. Paperback: ISBN 0716731339
An unbeatable introductory text written by masters of both education and earth science.

Earthquakes, by Seymour Simon
Grades K–3. Paperback: ISBN 068814022X, Hardcover: ISBN 0688096344
All about earthquakes and their interactions with manmade structures.

Rocks and Minerals (Eyewitness Books), by R. F. Symes, Colin Keates
Grades 4–7. Hardcover: ISBN 0394896211
Full color pictures and interesting text about the formation and uses of rocks and minerals.

Stone Wall Secrets, by Kristine Thorson, Robert Thorson, Gustav Moore
Grades 4–7. Hardcover: ISBN 0884481956
A farmer shares the geological history of the stones in a stone wall around the family's property with his grandson.

Volcano and Earthquake (Eyewitness Books number 38), by Susanna Van Rose, James Stevenson
Grades 4–7. Hardcover: ISBN 0679816852
Book discusses where and how earthquakes and volcanoes occur, prediction, and human interaction with these natural phenomena.

Janice VanCleave's Earth Science for Every Kid: One Hundred & One Experiments That Really Work, by Janice Vancleave
Grades K–6. Paperback: ISBN 0471530107
A terrific collection of earth science experiments for kids.

Janice VanCleave's Earthquakes: Mind Boggling Experiments You can Turn into Science Fair Projects, by Janice Vancleave
Grades 4–7. Paperback: ISBN 0471571075

Planet Earth , by Fiona Watt, Corinne Stockley, Kuo Kang Chen
Grades 6–Adult. Paperback: ISBN 0746006373, Hardcopy: ISBN 0881105104
One of the best elementary earth science books available.

Volcanoes & Earthquakes, by Susanna van Rose Grades 4-7. Paperback: ISBN 0756637805 Illustrated guide to earthquakes as well as volcanoes on earth and other planets.

Inside the Earth , by Rose Wyler and Gerald Ames
Grades K-3.
A “Golden Book”, almost cartoonish illustrations.

Trackers of Dynamic Earth, by Benchmark Education Company
Grades K-3.
Profiles three different scientists who study, respectively, earthquakes, volcanoes, and coral reefs.