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Tsunamis: Geology, Hazards and Risks

dtyjuThis book in the Society’s Special Publication series discusses a variety of topics from reviewing tsunami hazards globally to risk modelling. The first four sections are entirely focused on the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that was responsible for so much damage.  Other papers examine the history of tsunami activity in locations such as Central America.

The collection is divided up into two categories: 1: tsunami hazards globally, which demonstrates the worldwide effect of tsunami activity; and 2: risk modelling, which evaluates the likelihood of tsunami hazards nationally (New Zealand is of particular focus here) and internationally. A personal and unexpected highlight was a paper discussing tsunamis that had affected the UK; a unique catalogue of events recorded through observations, tidal gauges and sedimentological deposits. As a bit of an eye opener, I was interested to learn about a list of probable tsunami events in the UK which date back as far as 1762.

Although teaching takes you a certain distance with geological topics this book expands on tsunami knowledge nicely, cutting out the chit-chat and delving straight into the scientific terminology, and assuming that the reader already has a grasp of how tsunamis function. Readers from such backgrounds as humanitarian/hazard response may find this a little jarring; however the reader is eased in gently by the smooth writing of the articles.

As an undergraduate, I found most of the text easy to follow; the accompanying figures support the articles well. The content of papers appeals to many backgrounds due to a wide range of disciplines discussed - from geophysics to sedimentology and with a fair amount of interesting background history. On the whole, someone with basic geological knowledge should have little trouble making their way through the literature and interpreting the diagrams.

I would recommend this as an insightful read to someone who already takes an interest in the geological and historical aspects of tsunamis, whether they a student wishing to supplement their course, or an experienced academic. The quality of the papers is fairly consistent, each offering original data, analysis and interpretations.

This publication brings together many unique aspects of tsunami research to create a refreshing collection that will be of interest to readers from geoscientific, technical, engineering, humanitarian and hazard related backgrounds.

Reviewed by Emma Smith

TSUNAMIS: GEOLOGY, HAZARDS AND RISKS by E M SCOURSE N A CHAPMAN, D R TAPPIN & S R WALLIS, 2018. Published by: Geological Society of London 252pp (hbk) ISBN: 9781786203182 List Price: £90.00 Fellows’ PriceL £45.00 W: