What are the real risks posed by a volcanic eruption near a city – what is fact and what is myth? How have volcanic eruptions affected cities in the past, and how can we learn from these events? Why do communities continue to develop in such locations, despite the obvious threat? In this fascinating book, Grant Heiken explores global examples of cities at risk from volcanoes, from Italy, the US, Mexico, Ecuador, The Philippines, Japan and New Zealand, providing historical and contemporary eruption case studies to illustrate volcanic hazards, and cities' efforts to respond to them, both good and poor. He shows that truly successful volcanic hazard mitigation cannot be accomplished without collaboration between experts in geology and natural hazards, public health, medicine, city and infrastructure planning, and civil protection. This is a topical and engaging read for anyone interested in the history and future activity of these dangerous neighbors.
Introduction: dangerous neighbors, volcanoes near cities
1. Too many people and too many volcanoes – Naples, Italy
2. A full menu of volcanic hazards – Mexico City
3. 'Like dangerous, yet undeniably beautiful women' – Guagua Pichincha and Cotopaxi volcanoes near Quito, Ecuador
4. Dangerous neighbors but some bring gifts – Manila megacity, Philippines
5. 'It's part of the culture. Live with it!' – Cities in Japan
6. Volcanic and proud of it – Auckland, New Zealand
7. Coffee, software, aircraft, and volcanic mudflows – Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland, US
8. A tale of two cities – Akrotiri (island of Santorini, Greece) and Plymouth (island of Montserrat, Caribbean)
9. The dangerous neighbor is restless – how should a city respond?
Recommendations for further reading
Grant Heiken is an expert in volcanology and interdisciplinary urban studies, having investigated volcanic regions on four continents and the Moon and co-written or edited 10 books, including Volcanoes: Crucibles of Change (1997). He holds a PhD in geology and has worked for NASA during the Apollo program as a researcher and a geology instructor for astronauts. For many years he worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory on geothermal development, many aspects of volcanology from hazard analysis to scientific drilling, and integrated urban science. He was President of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior from 1995 to 1999, and now works as a freelance writer.
"Dangerous Neighbours is a timely and authoritative wake-up call for over 60 global cities which Grant Heiken has identified within range of the world's most dangerous active volcanoes. Devising effective disaster reduction measures for the wide range of volcanic hazards at these cities presents one of the greatest environmental challenges of our times."
– Peter J. Baxter, University of Cambridge, former Consultant Physician in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and government and WHO health adviser
"Since the beginning of the human race, volcanoes have fascinated us, giving inspiration to legends and beliefs, but they also pose serious threats to populations near and far. The examples included in this book have been carefully chosen to fully cover the wide spectrum of possible volcanic scenarios and to illustrate the different problems modern societies face in protecting themselves against volcanoes. Accessible to any interested readers, Heiken's writing does not lack scientific rigour: this excellent book has the potential to rapidly become a bestseller among all those who work with and love volcanoes."
– Joan Martí, Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera, Secretary General, IAVCEI, and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
"In this excellent book, Heiken places the dangers and disaster potential of populated volcanoes within a varied context of local culture, geologic research, public planning and politics. Like great earthquakes, the world's great volcanoes are ticking time-bombs. This book is a must-read for anyone in the business of hazard forecasting, planning and mitigation in cities located near volcanoes."
– Erik Hauri, Carnegie Institution of Washington
"Noted volcanologist Grant Heiken blends historical and archaeological evidence of past urban-volcanic interactions, and shows how current cultural practices and demographic trends shape how people can live with the threat of volcanic activity. This engaging and well-written book will be of interest to a variety of audiences from students with interests in volcano science, cultural anthropology, sustainability, and urban planning, to the general public wanting to learn more about how volcanoes affect our urban environment."
– Thomas Casadevall, Scientist Emeritus, US Geological Survey