Review: Earthquake Time Bombs By Robert Yeats

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Publication Date: 15th December 2015



In a media interview in January 2010, scientist Robert Yeats sounded the alarm on Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as an ‘earthquake time bomb’, a region at critical risk of major seismic activity. One week later, a catastrophic earthquake struck the city, leaving over 100,000 dead and triggering a humanitarian crisis.

In this timely study, Yeats sheds new light on other earthquake hotspots around the world and the communities at risk. He examines these seismic threats in the context of recent cultural history, including economic development, national politics and international conflicts. Descriptions of emerging seismic resilience plans from some cities provide a more hopeful picture. Essential reading for policy-makers, infrastructure and emergency planners, scientists, students and anyone living in the shadow of an earthquake, this book raises the alarm so that we can protect our vulnerable cities before it’s too late.

With geologists predicting “The Really Big One” to hit the Pacific Northwest at any time and major cities from San Francisco to Seattle scrambling to prepare, this unique look at which regions are in jeopardy and how they might fare better when the big one hits has never been more timely.


My Review

I enjoyed this book; as a book aimed at a non-science audience it explains earthquakes simply and as accurately as possible, as well as focussing on a variety of cities and regions that might reasonably expect to have a large earthquake at some point and the mitigating steps being taken or that need to be taken, which will be of interest to people living in those areas. He was particularly detailed in his discussion of Cascadia, North West US and Canada, and Istanbul, Turkey. These two places make an interesting contrast; one is a magacity which has recent experience with large earthquakes and is preparing for them, the other is a wide geographical region, covering several cities, which hasn’t had a large earthquake in three centuries and isn’t doing much to prepare for the next one.

Unfortunately the author ruined the book for me by repeating the nonsense that Columbus thought the world was flat. As we all know, this is bollocks; the Spanish were looking for another route to India and China, unfortunately there was a continent and a bloody great, unexpected ocean, in the way. Yeats also repeated himself in different sections, such as explaining what an ‘orphan tsunami’ is in every chapter about countries around the Pacific. There was also inconsistency in naming towns, regions and countries, especially ones that have recently changed name, such as Yangon/Rangoon; it’s confusing.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s