Why Do Volcanoes Blow Their Tops? - Book Review

Why Do Volcanoes Blow Their Tops? - Book Review
During my many visits to the Los Angeles Public Library in my search for Dinosaur books I came upon other areas that might interest my son Nicholas. One by one I have chosen selections in the Scholastic Question And Answer Series by Melvin and Gilda Berger.

Thus far we have enjoyed Do Tarantulas Have Teeth and Why Do Flies Walk Upside Down. My son has been interested in Earthquakes from watching The Land Before Time video series and has seen some episodes on Discovery Channel about volcanoes. Why Do Volcanoes Blow Their Tops? Questions and Answers About Volcanoes and Earthquakes was spotted and immediately picked up for his perusal.

When I showed this book to my son he was very excited and proceeded to skim through the pages. Not even half way through Why Do Volcanoes Blow Their Tops? Questions and Answers About Volcanoes and Earthquakes he found a page that portrayed a volcano model to do in your own home. In four easy steps the picture guides you along with the text on watching your own volcano blow its top.

4 tablespoons of baking soda
large plastic soda bottle with long neck
food coloring – red works good
vinegar - white
baking soda
large pan

We were not able to do this fast enough for my son as I had to get food coloring, and then trying to find red was difficult and the cost was five dollars for a small little vile. We opted to place the pan in the sink, placed the diet 7up bottle inside the pan and then proceeded to add the baking soda. The next step is a few squirts of dish washing liquid and some drops of food coloring. Lastly you pour enough vinegar over the other contents and wait for your miniature volcano model to erupt.

This was truly the highlight of the book for my two children and they insist on repeating this experiment. But on to the forty-eight pages of the book that includes an index at the back listing where you can find craters, epicenter, foreshocks, landslides, lava, nuclear bomb, seaquakes and volcanic ash. The illustrations portray craters, ash and eruptions in various stages and color.

The authors also welcome letters from any readers that have experienced either a Volcano or Earthquake as they prefer research to experience on these matters. There are answers to seventy-eight questions on both these topics. A Volcano will erupt due to pressure. Lava comes out as a red-hot liquid before it cools and becomes solid. A cinder Volcano is when rock and ash shoot into the air and fall back around the opening. Composite Volcanoes are also known as Strato Volcanoes, which would be the Mount Fuji in Japan.

At the top of Volcanoes are craters that can be measure from a few feet to one mile. Australia is the only continent where a Volcano does not exist. They are near the Mediterranean Sea and the Caribbean Sea. Rift Volcanoes erupt under the sea and happen more frequently than Volcanoes on land. Venus and Mars also have Volcanoes.

My son is still under the impression that the Dinosaurs will come back when we have a large Earthquake. Living in California he has felt two this past summer where the epicenter was very close to our location. The ground will shake and tremble with cracks possibly opening in the ground beneath. There are illustrations of a highway damaged in an Earthquake, fires in the aftermath of other Earthquakes and the San Andreas Fault Zone that has many Earthquakes.

Most Earthquakes happen in faults around the Pacific Ocean. They may start out as cracks in the surface. The epicenter is the area directly above the earthquake and receives the sharpest jolt and significant damage. Seaquakes and underwater Volcanoes might form a tsunamis. Back in 1960 a seaquake near Chile left 5000 people dead when it spent fourteen hours racing across the Pacific Ocean. This also crashed through Hawaii and Japan killing many in its path.

A seismograph is what seismologists use to detect Earthquakes. There are 4000 stations around the world connected to computers and satellite linkups. They use these to pinpoint the epicenter of an Earthquake. Dr. Charles F. Richter invented the scale that has reached the highest number of 9.5. For Earthquakes that are larger there is an increase of more aftershock tremors. A reading of a one will still show up on the seismograph but too weak to feel. A foreshock will occur when the plate starts to shift causing the land to shake. These shocks continue until the stress has been released. There are swarms of Earthquakes, which means many shakes over a period of time with no major quake. We have felt many of these and I post on a website providing feedback on those that had epicenters in our vicinity.

I felt the Northridge quake in January of 1994 that is mentioned in the book and not sure where the other California quakes noted in December of 1998 took place. It is also mentioned of another major quake in California in February of 1971. I have heard many people speak of that one. Another date for a major quake noted for California was June of 1992. I recall watching the baseball game in Oakland where this was felt. The Earthquake to cause the most damage was on April 18, 1906 that almost wiped out San Francisco.

I felt that Why Do Volcanoes Blow Their Tops? Questions and Answers About Volcanoes and Earthquakes was quite fascinating and worth investing in for the facts and details on these two events that can happen at any given time. I have always had an interest in Earthquakes since I felt my first one back in 1982 in San Diego when the bed I was on at the YWCA started wheeling across the room.

The recommended age group is from Kindergarten to second grade and older, as well as adults. I learned much about Volcanoes that I never knew about or thought I would care to know.

This article was adapted from a review I previously published on Epinions

At the time Nicholas was almost seven years old. Now at age ten he has borrowed a few books on Tsunamis and is reading a few Goosebumps books. Over the summer the grocery store was selling a table of used books. Nicholas chose The History of the US Air Force and Flying with America's Reserve and Guard. Over the weekend we taped a show on National Geographic about Strike Planes.

I was informed today that he no longer wants to be an Animal Scientist, but wants to be a Fighter Pilot. He cannot wait to be an adult so he can have a pet cat and obtain his driver license to drive a truck with large windows.

This review is part of the themed series I am starting here, mentioned in The Interests of children with Autism through the years. The subject will be Science with related articles on similar books for the same section.

The DK Guide to Dinosaurs

SeaWorld Shows

Autism Take Two! Quiz

An Impression of Autism from a kid on the Autism Spectrum

Family Friends

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