The History and Philosophy of Earthquakes
The aftershocks of the devastating Lisbon earthquake of 1755 were not only physical: the scientific investigations undertaken in its wake formed the basis of the science of seismology. Published in 1757, the present work is, in the words of its presumed editor, John Bevis (1695–1771), 'a repertory of all that has been written of earthquakes and their causes', and includes several recent papers published by the Royal Society. At the time, scientists suggested subterranean fires or electrical shocks in the atmosphere as possible causes of earthquakes. This reissue also incorporates a brief 1760 work by John Michell (1724/5–93), which uses Bevis' collection as a source and suggests that earthquakes were caused by seismic waves through the earth: it was one of the first to propose that tsunamis were the result of undersea earthquakes. Both these works rank as important steps in the developing understanding of one of nature's most destructive phenomena.