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About this book

This beautiful art book portrays the forces of nature through the main elements of Earth, Water, Air, Fire. It is composed from a large selection of unique images of a wide variety of sources, mostly private collections. It is a highly illustrated book, containing reproductions of rare engravings, maps both old and new, sketches, and diagrams.
The book is a sequel to ‘The Illustrated History of Natural Disasters’, published in 2010. While the first book provided a detailed look into two main kinds of natural disasters (of seismic and volcanic character), this volume presents natural disasters of all kinds: geophysical, hydrological, climatological and biological.
The book is divided into three parts: the first part introduces the leading question as to whether the elements should be regarded as constructive, for giving origin to life on Earth, or destructive given the impact of natural disasters to society throughout history; the second illustrates the positive effects of nature’s elements; and the third part depicts and contextualizes the history of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, landslides, avalanches, draughts, storms, fires, among others.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

1. Introduction

Abstract
The elements of the Earth … Perilous natural elements!Attention people! Save yourselves, those who can!
Jan Kozák, Roger M. W. Musson

2. Earth

Abstract
For the first of the four elements to come under inspection for its violent—and indeed disastrous—extremes, we choose Earth. There are two chief manifestations by which this element produces fatalities among human populations: the earthquake, and the landslide or landslip, in which gravitational forces cause mass movements, with ruinous results for any settlement below.
Jan Kozák, Roger M. W. Musson

3. Water

Abstract
Water. H2O, is probably the best-known chemical formula there is. It is also known as hydrogen monoxide or oxygen dihydride. It is one of the most abundant substances on the planet; much of the Earth’s surface is covered with it. A view of the Earth from space, centered on the Pacific Ocean, shows almost no land at all, and the view showing the most land possible still has slightly more sea than land visible.
Jan Kozák, Roger M. W. Musson

4. Air

Abstract
According to various dictionary definitions, air is that mixture of gases that surrounds our planet—in other words, the atmosphere. In ancient times, people were aware that there was something invisible that surrounds us, that we breathe every day, but they had no way to analyze it. It was considered some sort of invisible stuff, and “air” was the name given to it.
Jan Kozák, Roger M. W. Musson

5. Fire

Abstract
We should start by considering the nature of this element carefully, because it is rather different from the other three. In the case of Earth, Water, and Air (or—as we might put it in other terms—solid, liquid, and gas), these are all types of stuff or substance. They all have mass, the physical state of which is determined by conditions of pressure and temperature. It is possible for a particular chemical element or compound to be known in all three states: the substance given by the chemical formula H2O, which we generally think of as water (in its liquid state) is also commonly encountered as a solid (ice) or a gas (steam). We normally only encounter a substance such as iron in its solid state unless we are involved in smelting, when its liquid state appears. Iron as a gas is unknown on our planet but undoubtedly occurs in the Sun and other stars.
Jan Kozák, Roger M. W. Musson

Backmatter

Additional information