Cover image for A guide to the end of the world : everything you never wanted to know
A guide to the end of the world : everything you never wanted to know
McGuire, Bill, 1954-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xix, 191 pages : illustrations, maps ; 20 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GB5018 .M34 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The earth is an extraordinarily fragile place which is fraught with danger. A tiny rock hurtling through space, wracked by violent crustal movements and subject to dramatic climatic changes as the earth's geophysical and orbital circumstances vary. Only 10,000 years after the end of the IceAge, the planet is sweltering in some of the highest temperatures it has ever experienced. At the same time, overpopulation and exploitation are dramatically increasing the vulnerability of modern society to natural catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods, and volcanic eruptions. As futurologists long ago discovered, predicting the future is nigh on impossible, and few of us can even start to imagine what life will be like on planet earth in a million or even a thousand years time. The real question is, however, will there be any human life here at all? The End of the Worldwill focus on the many potential catastrophes facing our planet and our race in the future, and will address both the probabilities of these events happening and our chances of survival. The breadth of treatment will extend from discussion of the likely consequences of the current global warming experiment to the inevitable destruction of the Earth in the far future, when it is enveloped by our giant, bloated sun. In between other end of the world scenarios will be examined,including the new Ice Age, the asteroid and comet impact threat, supervolcanoes and their effects, and megatsunami.

Author Notes

Bill McGuire is Professor of Geohazards and Director of the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre, UCL. He is author or editor of over a hundred books, papers, and articles, focusing primarily on volcanoes. He has worked on volcanoes all over the world, including Mount Etna, Rabaul (PNG), andMount Pinatubo (Philippines). Bill is a member of the Association of British Sciences Writers and a regular contributor to radio, television, and the press on hazard-related matters. He was the focus of the Carlton Television First Edition programme Disaster Man (February 1999), and his latest book- Apocalypse! A natural history of global disasters - was published in 1999. In 2000 he presented his own Radio 4 series on the weather and other forces of nature, and featured in two Horizon programmes as the leading British expert on volcanoes and mega-tsunami ('tidal waves'); these documentariesrecorded the highest viewing figures of the year on BBC2 (6 million).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

McGuire, a leading British expert on volcanoes and director of University College London's Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre, is uniquely qualified to write on Earth's final days. Addressing a subject of gigantic, if not morbid, interest, his book is absolutely engrossing and maintains a quick pace with lots of frightening detail, backed by some rather grim facts and figures. McGuire focuses on the many potential catastrophes facing our planet in the future and explores the possibility of these events happening and the human race's chances of survival. McGuire begins by covering the consequences of current global warming of our little planet and leads into other end-of-the-world scenarios like a new Ice Age, super volcanic eruptions, giant tsunami, asteroid and comet impacts, and the inevitable destruction of the earth when it is engulfed by the sun. The author writes in a straightforward language and provides numerous illustrations and graphs to aid readers. Excellent index; short list of suggested readings for further exploration. A very readable book, recommended for all levels. W. Weston University of New Orleans

Table of Contents

1 A very short introduction to the earth
2 Global warming: a lot of hot air?
3 Whatever happened to the next Ice Age?
4 The enemy within: supervolcanoes, giant quakes, and megatsunami
5 The threat from space: asteroid & comet impacts
6 Five billion years AD: the earth's final days
7 Epilogue