Every year Britain experiences 200 minor tremors. Larger ones happen once a decade. This reviewer mistook one for the rumble of a nearby train, as did Robinson in 2008.
In areas where plate tectonics (ironically, from Greek for "builder") are more evident, such mistakes are unlikely though measurement is haphazard: Richter admitted his scale was "rather rough and ready".
One of the startling illustrations in this lively account is a relief on a Pompeiian house of destruction caused by a quake in AD62. Nero said the city should be abandoned. It was, 17 years later.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies