Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Earth Sciences

Summer 2015

In the Path of Destruction: Eyewitness Chronicles of Mount St. Helens

In the Path of Destruction: Eyewitness Chronicles of Mount St. Helens

Richard Waitt
WSU Press, 2014

Like the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, the personal stories of campers, loggers, airline pilots, Forest Service workers, and geologists came pouring out before, during, and after the cataclysm. One of those geologists, Richard Waitt, gathered anecdotes and recollections of the volcanic eruption over the course of three decades, now compiled in this tome.

Waitt blends his own scientific expertise as a researcher who had been on the mountain since its early rumblings with hundreds of eyewitness … » More …

Spring 2015

Voices of the wilderness

 

I. BREATH

They saw in the water many of the serpent-kind,
wondrous sea-dragons exploring the waters,
such nicors as lie on the headlands,
who, in the mornings, often accomplish
sorrowful deeds on the sail-road,
serpents and wild-beasts.

 
So concludes the epic poem Beowulf. Speaking Old English, storytellers composed Beowulf extemporaneously and shared passages from person to person for thousands of years until they were written down sometime between the eighth and the eleventh centuries. Beowulf is very much a poem about animals, so it’s appropriate to translate its last word, “wilde-or,” as “wild-beasts,” though the … » More …

Mapmaker Mystery photoillustration
Winter 2014

Mapmaker mystery

The Palouse, in its way, is a perfect place. A land of soft, rolling hills framed by rivers, mountains, forests, and desert, this agricultural hinterland feels all four seasons fully, and in all likelihood grows enough food to feed its inhabitants and visitors with ease. It’s home to scholars and farmers, and its story begins in the ice ages and continues today with an unrelenting flow of research from two major universities.

Despite such beauty and bounty, the Palouse has not received the artistic consideration that has Yosemite or Hudson Valley. I’ve never seen anything like that, at least until a day last winter when … » More …

Winter 2014

The scrambled natural world of global warming, a travelogue

Jesse A. Logan ’77 PhD is hiking up a mountainside in Yellowstone National Park and walking back in time. He starts at 8,600 feet above sea level, in a forest thick with the scent of fir and lodgepole pine, and with almost every spry step, the scenery changes. There’s an understory of grouse whortleberry, then accents of mountain bluebells and higher still, the whitebark pine, one of the oldest organisms of the Interior West.

Finally, the vegetation gives way to large swatches of scree. Logan’s 70-year-old legs have gone up 2,000 feet and back more than 10,000 years, from the lush vegetation of the twenty-first … » More …