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As CalVO moves from its Menlo Park location to its new home at Moffett Field, scientists have the monumental task of deciding what to preserve and what needs a new home. And like all scientists, we have a *lot* of books. In the process of sorting through them, we sometimes find real gems, like this seemingly innocuous book about volcanoes. 

A side-by-side photo of the cover of a brown clothbound book with gold embossed lettering and its title page, printed in an old-style text. The word "Volcanoes" is prominent, as well as the author's name of James D. Dana.
James D. Dana's volume about Hawaiian volcanoes "Characteristics of Volcanoes, With Contributions of Facts and Principles From the Hawaiian Islands", was published in 1890.

Did you catch the name on the cover? That's right - James D. Dana, the same Dana whose classic mineralogy text graces the bookshelves of scores of geologists. Though famous for his mineralogical writing, Dana also pioneered studies of volcanoes. He wrote about the geology of Mount Shasta (which he called "Mount Shasty") in the "United States Exploring Expedition" of 1849, and Hawaiian volcanoes in this 1890 volume, "Characteristics of Volcanoes, With Contributions of Facts and Principles From the Hawaiian Islands". Passed down by Jim Moore, himself a CalVO legend, this book contains not only some of the first attempts to classify and explain volcanic phenomena, but backs them up with examples observed by the author and others in the early days of volcanology in Hawaii. 

Like all Dana publications, this work contains intricate and realistic drawings of volcanic features which are still recognizable today, like the delicate structure of reticulite (a form of pumice where all of the bubbles are interconnected, leaving only glass threads) and the drips and dribbles of lava stalactites. In an excellent example of how scientific language evolves, Dana begins the first chapter by classifying lava bombs as "drops or driblets" and splitting lava flows into "superfluent", "effluent", or "interfluent" types - terms that have long since been superceded. Though the terminology may be quaint, the basic concepts Dana discusses aren't far off the mark, and the features and eruptive phenomena he observed in his travels are still noted by today's volcanologists in the field.

Side-by-side photos of two hand-drawn illustration plates in Dana's "Characteristics of Volcanoes" Book. The first has 5 subsections which show three-dimensional, geometric lattices of volcanic glass, while the second shows a dozen straw-like lava stalactites, which look as though they are dribbling down the page.
Hand-drawn illustrations of reticulite structures and lava stalactites from James D. Dana's 1890 book about Hawaiian volcanoes

To read some of Dana's classic volcanology writings online, visit these links for Characteristics of Volcanoes and the United States Exploring Expedition.

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