Music of the Earth: Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Other Geological Wonders

Music of the Earth: Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Other Geological Wonders

Music of the Earth: Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Other Geological Wonders

Music of the Earth: Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Other Geological Wonders


In a stunning blend of poetry, music, and science, this lyrical new work evokes the wonders of our living earth. As Pythagoras marveled over the "music of the spheres," geologist and writer Ron Morton gives us a whole new appreciation for the awe-inspiring forces that make and shape our planet. Through the resonance of musical metaphor he attunes both our minds and our senses to the most important discoveries in geology and explores the beauty, power, and infinite variety of the land - and seascapes that compose our earth. Morton reveals a dynamic system in which the prodigious forces of heat, pressure, molten rock, and water maintain a delicate and harmonious balance that has sustained life for millennia. Cracking, crumbling, colliding, and exploding, our earth is in a constant state of growth and renewal. Morton delves into territories at once fascinating and terrifying. With him we revisit the sites of the largest and most dangerous volcanoes and earthquakes in history - from the catastrophic forces that buried once-great cities and civilizations to the explosions that have caused unmerciful extremes of climate, creating famine and hardship across the globe. Morton goes on to show how such turbulence is ineluctably central to the earth's development. With infectious enthusiasm, Morton shares with us a more expansive vision of the earth - in particular, the revolutionary theory of continental drift. Moreover, he explores the phenomena of spreading oceans, the massive collisions that create our breathtaking mountain ranges, and the evolution of the planet from its fiery beginnings to the present day. On the lighter side, Morton playfully shares a more down-home variety of earthlore, including lively and imaginative, yet rock-solid explanations for hotsprings, rockslides, geysers, and the rich variety of soils, metals, and rocks that make up our planet.


Music can be defined as sound arranged into pleasing or interesting patterns, especially as produced by voices or instruments. Longfellow called music "the universal language of mankind"; Caryle called it "the speech of angels." Not hard to imagine. Recall the long, haunting wail of Paul Winter's saxophone, the whizzes and hums of Yo-Yo Ma's cello, the deep richness of Pavarotti's voice, the rhythm and beat of Paul Simon's songs.

Feeling, pleasure, wonder—human voices and instruments making music.

Earth music may not be the voice of angels, but it does give us a rich, interesting pattern of sounds, sounds produced by the instruments of our dynamic earth: the long, wavering rumble of an earthquake, the beat and rhythmic roar of a volcano, the eerie cracks and snaps of glacial ice, the whistles and fizzes of hot springs.

Feeling, wonder, awe, and sometimes fear—earth instruments making earth music.

George Bernard Shaw called music "the brandy of the damned." On the same note we might call earth music "the tonic of the . . .

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