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A Hero on Mount St. Helens: The Life and Legacy of David A. Johnston (Paperback)

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Serendipity placed David Johnston on Mount St. Helens when the volcano rumbled to life in March 1980. Throughout that ominous spring, Johnston was part of a team that conducted scientific research that underpinned warnings about the mountain. Those warnings saved thousands of lives when the most devastating volcanic eruption in U.S. history blew apart Mount St. Helens, but killed Johnston on the ridge that now bears his name. Melanie Holmes tells the story of Johnston's journey from a nature-loving Boy Scout to a committed geologist. Blending science with personal detail, Holmes follows Johnston through encounters with Aleutian volcanoes, his work helping the Portuguese government assess the geothermal power of the Azores, and his dream job as a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Interviews and personal writings reveal what a friend called "the most unjaded person I ever met," an imperfect but kind, intelligent young scientist passionately in love with his life and work and determined to make a difference.

About the Author

Melanie Holmes graduated from St. Xavier University in Chicago. She is the author of The Female Assumption, recipient of a 2014 Global Media Award from the Population Institute. She is also a speaker, educator, and freelance writer.

Praise For…

"An excellent biography. . . . This book is a great read." --The Daily Chronicle

"A well-balanced and authentic view of David--where he came from, who he was, what the influences on his worldview were, and especially his sense of urgency about the unfolding situation at Mount St. Helens in spring 1980. Volcanoes are complex features; Melanie Holmes explains scientific ideas in a clear, straightforward manner that make them more accessible to a broad, non-specialist audience."--Tom Casadevall, former acting director for the U.S. Geological Survey

"The intertwined personal life of David Johnston with Mount St. Helens geology and the challenges of dangerous research have, in this story, produced an incredibly engaging saga. A beautiful tribute to a scientist and to science."--Robbie Rice Gries, author of Anomalies: Pioneering Women in Petroleum Geology: 1917–2017 and president of the Geological Society of America

Product Details
ISBN: 9780252084317
ISBN-10: 0252084314
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication Date: May 18th, 2019
Pages: 240
Language: English