What are we to make of contemporary newspapers in Japan speculating about the possible connection between aquatic creatures and earthquakes? Of a city council deciding to issue evacuation advice based on observed animal behavior? Why, between 1977 and 1993, did Japan’s government spend taxpayer money to observe catfish in aquariums as part of its mandate to fund earthquake prediction research? All of these actions are direct legacies of the 1855 Ansei Edo earthquake, one of the major natural disasters of the period. In Seismic Japan:The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake, Gregory Smits investigates the science, politics, and lore of seismic events in Japan as he examines this earthquake in a broad historical context.
The Ansei Edo earthquake shook the shogun’s capital during a year of special religious significance and at a time of particularly vigorous seismic activity. It was also a turning point because, according to the prevailing understanding of earthquakes at the time, it should never have happened. Many Japanese, therefore, became receptive to new ideas about the causes of earthquakes as well as to the notion that by observing some phenomena—for example, the behavior of catfish—one might determine when an earthquake would strike.
December 2013 | 256 pages, 5 illus. | ISBN: 978-0-8248-3817-1 | Cloth $54.00
Atmospheric Science Librarians International (ASLI) has selected Hawai‘i’s Mauna Loa Observatory: Fifty Years of Monitoring the Atmosphere for the ASLI’s Choice 2012 Award in the History category. The book was praised for its “engaging perspective on the scientists, discoveries, and ground-breaking atmospheric measurements done at Mauna Loa Observatory.”
Author Forrest M. Mims III will attend the official presentation on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 during the American Meteorological Society annual meeting in Austin, Texas. (Mims recently wrote two articles on Dr. Robert Simpson, the founder of the Mauna Loa Observatory, who celebrated his 100th birthday last month.) ASLI’s Choice is an award for the best book of 2012 in the fields of meteorology / climatology / atmospheric sciences. Visit the ASLI website for more information on award criteria and past winners.
Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) is one of the world’s leading scientific stations for monitoring the atmosphere. For more than fifty years, beginning with atmospheric chemist Charles Keeling’s readings of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, MLO has provided climate scientists a continuous record of the atmosphere’s increasing concentration of carbon dioxide—and sparked the international debate over global warming. Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory: Fifty Years of Monitoring the Atmosphere, by Forrest M. Mims III, tells the story of the men and women who made these and many other measurements near the summit of the world’s largest mountain.
November 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3431-9 / $60.00 (CLOTH)