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22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
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Encyclopedia of Volcanoes, edited by URI Graduate School of Oceanography Volcanologist,
Wins Publishing Award

Narragansett, RI -- February 22, 2000 -- Encyclopedia of Volcanoes, edited by URI Graduate School of Oceanography volcanologist Dr. Haraldur Sigurdsson, has been given an award for excellence by the Association of American Publishers. The encyclopedia, published by Academic Press, took the prestigious award in the Geography and Earth Science Division for 1999.

Announced at the association's Twenty-Fourth Annual Awards Program on February 8, the award was accepted by Mike Morgan, Vice President and Director of Book Publishing for Academic Press.

Encyclopedia of Volcanoes summarizes what is currently known about volcanoes. Through its thematic organization around the melting of the earth, it provides a comprehensive source of information on the multidisciplinary influences of volcanic eruptions - both the destructive and the beneficial aspects.

In the Foreword to the encyclopedia, Dr. Robert D. Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic and president of the Institute for Exploration, states, "If one could drain the world's oceans and remove their sediment cover, you would quickly realize that the majority of the Earth's surface is covered with lava flows. Although the human race has lived in close contact with volcanic activity since our early origins in the African Rift Valley, only recently have we begun to comprehend how volcanically active our planet really is. . . . Given our growing awareness of the importance of volcanism to the past, present, and future history of Earth and its celestial partners, the publication of the Encyclopedia of Volcanoes is clearly needed and appropriate at this time."

With more than 1,400 pages, the encyclopedia contains overview articles, a comprehensive catalog and map of historically active volcanoes, figures and tables to support and amplify the text, including a series of special color plates, and a comprehensive subject index.

Sigurdsson, a resident of Jamestown, joined the URI faculty in 1974. He has authored more than 120 articles in scientific journals and overseen more than 35 research proposals funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the National Geographic Society. He is the author of Caribbean Volcanoes: A Field Guide and Melting the Earth: The Evolution of Ideas about Volcanic Eruptions.

The results of some of his most recent work have been widely embraced as the "smoking gun" of the impact theory that explained why 70 percent of the earth's plants and animals-including dinosaurs-disappeared 65 million years ago.

In addition to the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D., Sigurdsson has delved into such historic explosions as the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia that caused "the year without a summer" in North America and the deadly eruption of El Chichon in Mexico in 1982.

With JASON Project founder Dr. Robert Ballard, Sigurdsson has co-hosted the international JASON Project expedition which took thousands of children around the country on a live exploration, via satellite, to two of the Earth's hottest spots-Yellowstone National Park and Iceland.

Encyclopedia of Volcanoes is available at the Coastal Institute Bookstore at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus. The book is also available over the Internet at and


Contact: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642,


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