Saturday, May 5, 2007

This Week on NPR's The Point: Extreme Waves

The Inkwell is hosting author and engineer Craig B. Smith at an event Friday, May 11th at 6:00 p.m. Craig is the author of several books, including Extreme Waves and How the Great Pyramid Was Built. On Thursday morning, May 10th, he will be interviewed on the Cape & Islands NPR station. Tune in to Mindy Todd's show, The Point, at 9:30 a.m., and join us Friday evening for a talk, Q&A session, and complimentary refreshments.

Extreme Waves is a fascinating history of waves, covering both the headline stories as well as incidents that are less well-known, but equally startling. Where do waves come from? Why are some big and some small? From winter to summer, the nature of the beach changes, sculpted by the tireless energy of waves. Most waves are simply rhythmic expressions of the Earth’s movement through space and the changes they bring to our shorelines are gradual. But given the right weather conditions and combination of natural forces, waves can wreak havoc. There are extreme waves, waves that stretch 100 feet high – posing an imminent threat to large sea vessels and coastal structures. There are even waves that have stripped trees from mountains as they surged to an estimated 1700 feet high. But even less massive waves are dangerous to ships and coastlines. Indeed, the lessons of the 2004 Bay of Bengal tsunami and the damage wrought by recent tidal surges in New Orleans underscore the need for better tracking and prediction of extreme waves.