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Published 2011

Publisher's Synopsis: (Mountain Press Publishing  Company)

Don't wait for a trip to the thermal pools of Iceland or the black beaches of Hawaii to discover what's so hot about volcanoes. Warm up with a copy of this book. Lively discussions introduce readers of all ages to the creative power of volcanoes, explaining the reasons behind where they form, what they look like, and when they explode. Think of a volcano as the safety valve on a pressure cooker, author Wendell Duffield tells readers. The inside of Earth reaches a blistering 9,000 to 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and volcanoes simply release some of that pent-up heat from time to time. Some volcanoes erupt so gently that observers can stand nearby while others erupt so violently that they destroy themselves, as well as everything within reach of their hot gases, lava, and ash. Sections explore the challenges of predicting eruptions, what happens when magma mixes with water, and how people are using volcanic heat for energy.


Published 2007

Publisher's Synopsis: (iUniverse, Inc.)

Welcome to the year 2025. Following a lengthy approval process seemingly driven more by politics than science, the nation’s inventory of high-level radioactive waste is finally stored in underground passageways dug into the guts of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Two years later, the unexpected and unthinkable happens … a violent volcanic eruption blasts its way through the mountain. Because Yucca is saturated with the percolating abundant rainfall brought about by climate change, explosive steam bursts add to an already destructive eruption as two-thousand-degree magma mixes with water. Radioactive waste is erupted along with volcanic ash, creating the ultimate dirty bomb. The deadly mixture is blown downwind where it settles out over Las Vegas and Lake Mead. The city must be evacuated and the lake drained, displacing and disrupting the lives of millions of people for long into the future.

Yucca Mountain Dirty Bomb invites the reader to live vicariously through a scenario that experts consider unlikely, as measured by carefully calculated probability (popularly called "the odds") … the very mathematical construct that sustains the gambling mecca of Las Vegas. Nonetheless, unlikely events can and do occur, and in this novel "the house" loses!


(From the May 9, 2005, issue of USA TODAY)

 Nevada: Las Vegas – Jo Ann Argyris, a self-employed single mother of two, hit her second million-dollar jackpot in less than a year at a casino last week. Last June, Argyris won her first $1 million jackpot on a slot machine. Several gambling experts said the odds of the same person hitting two $1 million jackpots on the same type of machine in a year’s time are astronomical.



Published 2003


Publisher's Synopsis: (Mountain Press)

In 1969, as Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, a young geologist known as Duff was preparing to set foot on a rocky landscape of another sort: Kilauea Volcano on the island of Hawaii, where he would spend three years at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Volcanologists and general readers alike will enjoy this entertaining account of living and working at Kilauea - one of the world's most active volcanoes and the home of Pele, goddess of fire and volcanoes. Duff's narrative encompasses everything from the scientific (observations that the movements of a cooled crust on a lake of lava mimicked plate tectonics) to the humorous (his dog's discovery of a snake on the supposedly snake-free island) to the life-threatening (a colleague's plunge into molten lava). Abundantly Illustrated in black&white and color, with line drawings and maps, as well.


From the Critics: KLIATT

1969 was a year that showed man on the moon and man in the jungles of Vietnam. Far away from both of these extremes of human endeavors, Wendell Duffield and his wife came to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory to study Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes. Unlike previous geologists who wanted to "explain the past," the geologists at the observatory wanted to "explain future events", living by the motto "No more burned or buried cities." Duffield's story of his three-year stay there alternates between the scientific and the everyday anecdotal. Life with a dog, a cat and a new wife goes along with life with a scientific team at work studying the movements of cooled lava crust. It is evident that the memories of these years are good ones; Duffield's memoir carries a mellow tone: "Memories of the heavy scent and monotonous taste of meat, potatoes, and Upper Midwest delicacies known as hot dish and casserole give way to the delicate textures and flavors of abundant fresh seafood and a seemingly unending in-season crop of sweet fruit." Personal photographs, scientific illustrations and humorous monotone watercolors all tie in with both the mundane and technical sides of this work. Recommended for any collection where there is interest in volcanism or Hawaii. KLIATT codes: SA-Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Mountain Press, 171p. illus. bibliog. index., Gillen



Published 2003



People interested in violently erupting volcanoes, how scientists study these beasts, life on the Big Island of Hawaii, and the continuing popularity of the volcano goddess, Pele, will thoroughly enjoy this novel.


From the Publisher: (iUniverse, Inc.)

Follow scientists and technicians of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory as they scramble to take the pulse of Big Island volcanoes in attempts to forewarn the public of impending eruption; progress is made, but complete understanding of these powerful forces of nature remains frustratingly elusive. Watch bad guys and harmless hippies as they cultivate illegal gardens of marijuana on the slopes of Kilauea Volcano, directly in the path of searing lava flows; some growers pay the ultimate price for their addiction to pot and its ill-gotten financial rewards. But above all, listen to Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess, as she manipulates success and failure, even life and death, of human intruders on her volcano home. When Pele Stirs paints a realistic picture of life on the Big Island, and will help the reader understand why Christian missionaries have failed to eliminate the worship of Pele, in spite of their efforts to do so for nearly two centuries.




Published 1997. Updated and Reprinted 2003, 2005


From the Publisher: (Grand Canyon Association)

Just south of the Grand Canyon lies a range of volcanic mountains including Mt. Humphreys, the highest point in Arizona. These mountains encompassing Sunset Crater and the San Francisco Peaks, collectively make up the San Francisco Volcanic Field. This book provides, for the first time, a popular look at the fiery origin of these volcanic features. With magnificent aerial photographs, original geologic illustrations, and detailed road logs to many of the key features, this book is an indispensable tool for the traveler, the educator, and all that are interested in the remarkable landscape of northern Arizona.


From a Reader:

This book is a wonderful introduction to the San Francisco volcanic field, which created the high country around Flagstaff and the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountains in Arizona. Duffield writes in a clear, direct style that's a pleasure to read. The book grew out of a long series of talks and lectures he's given around the Flagstaff - Grand Canyon area -- he quotes a fifth-grader who wrote a thank-you note for "being interesting and not boring," which is a nice capsule review of the book. Although he's writing for a general audience, geologists who aren't intimately familiar with Northern Arizona will learn of some neat new discoveries -- such as the remarkable similarity between the Mt. St. Helens blowout and the Peaks' long-puzzling Inner Basin. And that recent lava-dams on the Colorado River (near present-day Lava Falls) made lakes in Grand Canyon nearly half a mile deep! Plus, anyone with working eyes will be pleased with Michael Collier's splendid aerial photos.


Published 2005


From the Publisher: (iUniverse, Inc.)

Life on the farm in Minnesota was not easy during the early 1900s. All family members had to work long hours as a team to maintain an adequate supply of food, clothing, and shelter ... the basic necessities of human existence. A trip to the annual County Fair was a treat beyond the comprehension of today's leisure-burdened Americans. Why, then, would a talented and attractive young woman named Nina Hatchitt leave a successful career in the heady cultural environment of Washington D.C. to marry a Minnesota farmer? Nina's decision was driven by love of a particular man and by love of family in the broadest and purest sense. Her choice was between the probability of new sensations of pleasure and more money to spend on things, and the promise of life-long heart happiness. She made her decision at a time when her already successful career was about to soar to higher levels. But by becoming a farmer's wife, she simply added a second career to an already impressive resume. Somehow she managed to continue writing poetry, song lyrics, and prose while giving birth to and raising six children under the difficult conditions of farm life. She was able to get a few of her pieces into print, but most have gathered dust in family archives during the eight decades since her death. By compiling and annotating Nina's writings, Wendell and Anne Duffield record a bit of early-1900s farm-life history while documenting engaging literature of broad and universal appeal.




Published 2005

From The Publisher: (iUniverse, Inc.)

On the universal quest for personal independence and for fulfillment of growing-up dreams, a small-town Minnesota boy turns to raising runt piglets as a way to earn spending money of his own. Then a series of mysterious and unexpected postcards from a school called Phillips Exeter Academy begins to arrive, flooding his plans with uncertainty and confusing his inexperienced parents as to what is best for their son.

From Piglets To Prep School: Crossing A Chasm describes the unanticipated and fundamentally unwanted struggle that this young boy faces as the postcards, eventually inviting him to attend the school on scholarship, continue to interrupt a comfortably familiar existence in his home town ... a life of growing up in a virtual clone of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon of Prairie Home Companion.

Though satisfied at home, an inner voice seduces him to abandon his youthful dreams and join the cadre of elite preppies in New England. Overnight, names of his schoolmates change from Gary Gardner and Duane Labs to David Rockefeller and Peter Benchley. The social, economic, cultural, and academic shocks of such change are immediate and stunning ... yet mostly manageable.

This entertainingly illustrated book is a poignant and humorous memoir that will resonate with anyone who remembers his or her growing up years. Share the fun, sadness, discoveries, disappointments, and pranks of a young hayseed kid uprooted from bucolic rural life and transplanted into the rocky New England garden of stuffy and highly competitive preppies. You'll be challenged to read the book without alternatively laughing and crying as memories of your own early years are rekindled.


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