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Active Faults of the World

Application boxes within the text engage students by demonstrating how theories relate to real applications
Provides a neutral journalistic account of controversies, such as whether the historical record is adequate to estimate maximum earthquake size for critical facilities like the nuclear plant in Japan
Presents arresting human perspectives, illustrating that a repeat of the 1505 earthquake in Kabul could kill as many people as 30 years of wars in Afghanistan, or that the Bible can provide information on the Dead Sea Transform Fault in the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah and Jericho

By: Robert S Yeats (Author)

625 pages, 214 b/w illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Apr 2012 | #196975 | ISBN-13: 9780521190855
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £56.99 $70/€64 approx

About this book

Providing the first worldwide survey of active earthquake faults, Active Faults of the World focuses on those described as 'seismic time bombs' – with the potential to destroy large cities in the developing world such as Port au Prince, Kabul, Tehran and Caracas. Leading international earthquake expert, Robert Yeats, explores both the regional and plate-tectonic context of active faults, providing the background for seismic hazard evaluation in planning large-scale projects such as nuclear power plants or hydroelectric dams. He also highlights work done in more advanced seismogenic countries like Japan, the United States, New Zealand and China, providing an important basis for upgrading building standards and other laws in developing nations. Active Faults of the World also explores the impact of major quakes on social development through history. It will form an accessible reference for analysts and consulting firms, and a convenient overview for academics and students of geoscience, geotechnical engineering and civil engineering, and land-use planning.

"An astonishing achievement [...] extraordinarily comprehensive and well illustrated with seismological and geodetic data. It will remain a reliable introduction to the context of advances in the field, and how to use them."
– James Jackson, University of Cambridge

"This ambitious compilation of all that is known of the surface faults of our planet will be a reference work for many years to come."
– Roger Bilham, University of Colorado, Boulder

"Clearly written and highly illustrated [...] this is essential reading for anyone tasked with protecting at-risk populations or infrastructure prone to earthquakes."
– Gerald Roberts, Birkbeck, University of London

"Robert Yeats provides comprehensive geographical coverage which remains accessible by providing context throughout [...] an essential reference not only for academics and students, but also practitioners in engineering geology, civil engineering and planning."
– Ken McCaffrey, Durham University

"This is the first time someone has attempted to summarize the totality of earthquake faults [...] "
– Newswise (

"[...] provides that starting point via a global discussion of active faults, giving a clear overview of their tectonic setting and earthquake history with useful figures and a good set of references [...] insightful discussion reflects the author's considerable experience worldwide [...] Highly recommended."
– S. Stein, Choice

"[...] a most remarkable and authoritative work."
Open University Geological Society Journal

"[...] this impressive book presents a massive amount of information in a clear, concise, and readable style. Its ongoing value will be enhanced by the approximately 1600 references to the primary literature. It is a landmark work that should have a long life as a major reference for anyone involved in earthquake studies."
– William R. Green, The Leading Edge

"Yeats brings forth this first-ever worldwide fundamental assessment of the essential, observable characteristics that can be used to indicate the relative threats of single regional seismogenic zones [...] take this book with you on your next trip to the next project!"
– Allen W. Hatheway, Environmental and Engineering Geoscience

"The text descriptions are illustrated by easy-to-grasp maps of the areas under discussion. This is an essential reference work for anyone interested in earthquakes and their accompanying hazards."
Natural Hazards Observer



1. Methods and background
2. Introduction to North America: the Pacific-North America plate boundary
3. San Andreas System and basin and range
4. Caribbean Plate and Middle America subduction zone
5. South America
6. Africa, Arabia, and Western Europe
7. Eastern Mediterranean, the Caucasus, and the Middle East
8. India, the Himalaya, Mainland China, and Central Asia
9. Japan and the Western Pacific
10. Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands


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Robert Yeats is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America. He is senior consultant and partner in Earth Consultants International, an international firm focusing on earthquake hazards, and also an Emeritus Professor at Oregon State University. He has decades of experience in earthquake geology worldwide, including acting as chair of the International Lithosphere Project on active faults for several years and authoring three previous books: Geology of Earthquakes (with Kerry Sieh and Clarence R. Allen), Living with Earthquakes in California and Living with Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest. An endowed professorship at Oregon State University has been named in his honour and the AAPG have recognised his work by awarding him the Michel T. Halbouty Human Needs Award.

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