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Mountains of Fire

The Menace, Meaning, and Magic of Volcanoes

Meeting with volcanoes around the world, a volcanologist decodes their messages for human civilization and the planet.
In Mountains of Fire, Clive Oppenheimer invites readers to stand with him in the shadow of an active volcano. Whether he is peering from the crater’s edge, climbing toward the summit, or hunting for the far-flung deposits of Earth's greatest eruptions, Oppenheimer is an ideal guide, offering readers the chance to tag along on the daring, seemingly-impossible journeys of a volcanologist.

In his eventful career as a volcanologist and filmmaker, Oppenheimer has studied volcanoes around the world. He has worked with researchers in North Korea to study Mount Paektu, a volcano name sung in national anthems on both sides of the Demilitarized Zone. He has ventured through Chad to the Tibesti Mountains to study the fabled Tiéroko volcano. He has voyaged south to the hottest place on the coldest continent, studying gases emitted from Antarctica’s Mount Erebus.

Mountains of Fire reveals how volcanic activity is entangled with our climate and environment, as well as our economy, politics, culture, and beliefs. These adventures and investigations make clear the dual purpose of volcanology—both to understand volcanoes for science’s sake and to serve the communities endangered and entranced by these mountains of fire. 

352 pages | 20 color plates, 15 halftones | 6 x 9

Earth Sciences: General Earth Sciences, Geology


“I have to thank God on my knees that Oppenheimer's book did not exist at the time I made my decision to become a filmmaker. I might have become a volcanologist instead.”

Praise for 'Eruptions that Shook the World' | Werner Herzog, film director and producer

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