Mountains of Fire
The Menace, Meaning, and Magic of Volcanoes
Meeting with volcanoes around the world, a volcanologist interprets their messages for humankind. In Mountains of Fire, Clive Oppenheimer invites readers to stand with him in the shadow of an active volcano. Whether he is scaling majestic summits, listening to hissing lava at the crater’s edge, or hunting for the far-flung ashes from 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 scientists in North Korea to study Mount Paektu, a volcano name sung in national anthems on both sides of the Demilitarized Zone. He has crossed the Sahara to reach the fabled Tiéroko volcano in the Tibesti Mountains of Chad. He spent months camped atop Antarctica’s most active volcano, Mount Erebus, to record the pulse of its lava lake. 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.