According to Pearson, this text provides the basic scientific facts about earthquakes. It also explains how the study of earthquakes has progressed through time, offering details on the development of earthquake instruments, and covering practical aspects such as personal safety, building and living in areas prone to earthquakes, and earthquake geography.
The content is organized into three essentially independent sections:
- Part I provides a primer on earthquake basics, with a survey of the historical development of human thought on earthquakes, including early scientific ideas and myths, from Poseidon to elastic rebound.
- Part II considers how data gathered from earthquake instruments is used, and how the study of earthquakes has been applied to understand Earth.
- Part III focuses on personal safety and earthquakes, considering what can be learned from past earthquakes and offering a whatnottodo handbook.