At once terrifyingly destructive and awe-inspiringly beautiful, volcanoes have long fascinated humankind. From Vesuvius and Etna to Krakatau and Mount Saint Helen’s, these molten rock- and ash-spewing geysers have destroyed whole cities and countless lives, and altered the course of history. Yet our understanding of volcanoes on Earth—and throughout the celestial world—remains maddeningly incomplete. With Alien Volcanoes, Rosaly M. C. Lopes and Michael W. Carroll offer a dynamic tour of volcanic activity across the solar system. Through eight gracefully written chapters laced with gripping photographs and stunning artwork, Lopes and Carroll survey the complete spectrum of volcanism in time and location, from the solar system’s origin to the modern era and from the familiar shield volcanoes of the terrestrial worlds to the bizarre superchilled geysers on distant ice moons. In the process, they entertain the possibility of hidden lakes on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, discuss the potential effects of greenhouse gases on Neptune’s moon Triton, reconstruct the last moments of life for Pompeiians in the face of an erupting Mount Vesuvius, and explain how a 4,000-mile-long river of lava could have once flowed freely across the plains of Venus.
Richly illustrated with original paintings supplemented by NASA and European Space Agency photographs, Alien Volcanoes advances our knowledge of volcanoes on other heavenly bodies, enhances our ability to comprehend how they came into being on Earth, and describes how we might better predict the impact of future eruptions.