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Find Your Science at GSA
17 November 2010
GSA Release No. 10-66
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach
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A History of Earth's Convulsions

Boulder, CO, USA - Ancient earthquakes are pre-instrumental earthquakes that can only be identified through indirect evidence in the archaeological (archaeoseismology) and geological (palaeoseismology) record. New GSA Special Paper 471 includes a selection of cases which illustrate ways that the archaeological record is being used in earthquake studies. Ancient Earthquakes will be of interest to the broad community of earth scientists, seismologists, historians, and archaeologists active in and around archaeological sites threatened by seismic hazards throughout the world.

The volume frames the International Geoscience Programme IGCP 567, “Earthquake Archaeology: Archaeoseismology along the Alpine-Himalayan Seismic Zone.” The first series of papers focuses on the relationship between human prehistory and tectonically active environments, and the wide range of societal responses to historically known earthquakes. Papers primarily concern archaeoseismology. They show the diversity of disciplines and approaches involved, and each one’s potential to contribute to a better understanding of earthquake history.

The second series of papers focuses on societal impacts and discusses issues in political, social and economic contexts. These works further review whether earthquakes have had a negative effect on society.

“We hope this volume offers a taste of the complexity with which archaeoseismologists are confronted,” say the editors. 

Editors include Manuel Sintubin (Katholieke Universiteit Lueven, Lueven Belguim), Iaian S. Stewart (University of Plymouth, Devon, UK), Tina M Niemi (University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas) and Erhan Altunel (Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Turkey).

Individual copies of the volume may be purchased through the Geological Society of America online store,,or by contacting GSA Sales and Service,

Book editors of earth science journals/publications may request a review copy by contacting Jeanette Hammann,

Ancient Earthquakes

Manuel Sintubin, Iain S. Stewart, Tina M. Niemi, and Erhan Altunel (editors)
Geological Society of America Special Paper 471
SPE471, 280 p., $85.00; Member price $60.00
ISBN 978-0-8137-2471-3