This is a very different,but nonetheless,an excellent book about earthquakes.What is it like to live in an active earthquake zone? Well,the author does, and tells us what it is like and how he rationalizes it all with himself. He shares these personal feelings with us and leaves one( particularly one who does not live there) with the feeling of what it is like to have the threat hanging always over your head;that a big one could happen at any time. You don't know where,when or how powerful;the only thing is, that they are certain to come.Most importantly ;if you do live there....life must go on,and we'll deal with it all when it happens.
David covers a lot of ground in this book. Some reviewers have suggested that it is disjointed and somewhat chaotic
in the way it is written.I can see what they mean,but isn't that appropriate for a book dealing with a subject as disjointed and chaotic as earthquakes?
He gives a ton of details about earthquakes in California and even some idea of how they tie into earthquakes around the world. He fairly extensively covers the whole business of trying to predict earthquakes,why they occur and what is really known about them and why their prediction is so difficult.He covers the many theories and shows that just as some concensus starts to gel,a new earthquake occurs,that completely ignores the theory. Concensus is not science,no matter how many agree. Statements abound throughout the book that fit the study of earthquakes,such as; "heard it somewhere,from someone else along the never-ending daisy chain of myth.", "the unpredictability of earthquake prediction",when it comes to observation,what we look for is what we get","earthquakes will always confound our expectations,no matter what we think we know","and most poignent of all; "To find out,you'd have to ask the San Andreas,and the San Andreas keeps its secrets close."
Another very interesting book about earthquakes is "A Dangerous Place" by Mark Reisner for which I wrote a review on September 9,2004 .These two books complement each other. There is, however, a shortcoming in each book.Reisner's book has maps and many photographs,but lacks an index or any references.Ulin's book lacks maps,illustrations and photos,also no references,but does include an extensive index.
Finally,both books refrain from making any specific predictions,but after reading them,you can understand why.
Ulin does point us to web sites of Berkland (SYZYGZ0 )and Cloud Man.
These men who have fairly accurate recent records of good predictions. Cloud Man predicted the Hector Mine earthquake on the fault Lavic Lake,long considered to be dormant A system that,until 1999,had remained quiet for longer than human civilization existed on earth. It was predicted 2 months before it happened and posted on his web site. It was the forth largest Southern California temblor of the twentieth century,coming in at a magnitude of 7.0.