A short Book Review
By Fr. Abram Abdelmalek
The Fascinating History and Volatile Future of the San Andreas Fault
by John Dvorak
"Earthquake Storms: The Fascinating History and Volatile Future of the San Andreas Fault" is written by John Dvorak, PhD. John has studied volcanoes and earthquakes around the world for the United States Geological Survey, first at Mount St. Helens in 1980, then a series of assignments in Hawaii, Italy, Indonesia, Central America, and Alaska. In addition to dozens of papers published in scientific journals, Dvorak has written more than half a dozen of books and the cover stories for Scientific American, Astronomy and Physics Today. He received his PhD in planetary geophysics in 1979 from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. His interest has shifted back to his original PhD field of research and currently, he operates one of the large telescopes at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. studying the flaring of comets, what scientific evidence there may be for life outside the solar system, and whether the multiverse can ever be proven to exist. In my views, if he had focused more on earth geology, he would have contributed extremely too much needed knowledge.
This book comes in 352 pages and explores the geological and historical context of the San Andreas Fault, one of the most well-known and active fault lines in the world. It is well-written and provides a great deal of detail on the San Andreas Fault and earthquakes in general. The book is well-researched and draws on a wide range of sources, including scientific studies, historical records, and interviews with experts in the field. An appealing aspect of the book is the way in which it integrates scientific knowledge with human stories and history, making it interesting to a broad audience. Dvorak's use of anecdotes and real-life accounts of earthquakes and their effects on people's lives brings the subject matter to life, making it more engaging and relatable. His use of accessible language and analogies to explain complex scientific concepts is particularly effective.
Dvorak delves into the science of earthquakes, explaining the tectonic forces that lead to their occurrence, and how seismologists monitor and measure seismic activity. He also discusses the geological history of California, the tectonic plates and fault lines that run through it, and how they have shaped the landscape and influenced the culture of the region.
The book also offers a thorough examination of the history of earthquakes in California, and how the state has responded to seismic hazards. Dvorak discusses some of the most significant earthquakes to occur along the San Andreas Fault, including the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and more recent events such as the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
In addition to recounting historical earthquakes, Dvorak also discusses the potential for future earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault, and the potential impact that such events could have on the region. He explores the ways in which scientists are working to predict and prepare for future earthquakes and discusses the ongoing debate over the best methods to mitigate seismic hazards. His discussion in the future of earthquake events, he examines the potential for a "megaquake" along the San Andreas Fault, which some seismologists believe could occur in the future. The book explores the scientific evidence for and against this possibility, and the potential consequences of such an event. This provides a sobering reminder of the importance of being prepared for seismic hazards.
The book emphasizes on the need for collaboration between scientists, engineers, policymakers, and the public in preparing for and responding to earthquakes. Dvorak underscores the importance of public education and community preparedness in reducing the impact of earthquakes, and provides examples of successful earthquake preparedness initiatives in California and other parts of the world.
However, a potential fragility of the book is the enormous amount of unneeded and unrelated details that could lose the reader focus and interest.
Technically, Dvorak wrongly assumes that the same prevailing stress conditions that at work now, would be working for the future millions of years. Based on this wrong assumption, he predicts the future location of many Norm American cities and states.
From a creation geology view, Earthquake Storm theory coined by Prof Amos Nur in 2000, un which it is assumed that one earthquake triggers a series of other large earthquakes, along the same plate boundary, as the stress transfers along the fault system within a reasonably short span of time (not millions or 10,000s years) works better within a biblical timeframe.
The book also serves indirectly, the notion of catastrophism and the repeated rapid occurrences of earthquakes in many areas around the world, besides St. Andreas Fault System, like Turkey, Greece, Italy, Japan, and China.
The book makes reference to the Bible as one of the ancient texts that mentioned earthquakes. However, you can sense a smirky victorious tone on finding natural causes of earthquakes and excluding the divine control and intervention of natural phenomena. He hails Charles Lyell who convinced Josiah Whitney (1819 –1896) who became the first State Geologist of California.
The author attributes angels’ apparitions to seismicity and earthquake activities. We should not assume that because a natural phenomenon has happened, it is the cause of feverish visions for people. It could be the other way around. I mean, because of the apparition this phenomenon has happened, as recorded so many times in the Bible. The Bible states that the earth trembles when God manifest Himself.
It is remarkable that St. Andreas fault is believed to have been developed and activated during the Oligocene Epoch (25 MY) like most other major plate tectonic movements, e.g., the African, Arabian, and Anatolian plates, the Alpine and the Himalayan Orogenies. These worldwide events could help in defining the time of many biblical narratives like the end of the flood and the destruction of Babel and division of lands.
Overall, "Earthquake Storms" is an informative and engaging read that provides a fascinating look at the science of earthquakes, the history of seismic activity in California, and the potential for future earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault. It is recommended for anyone with an interest in geology, seismology, or the history and culture of California.