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October 16, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN: The Nature of Volcanoes photographs by Dorian Weisel, text by Carl Johnson (Chronicle: $18.95; 132 pp., paperback original). Volcanic eruptions rank among the most awesome natural phenomena. Carl Johnson's text includes clear explanations of the origins of volcanoes, the different types of lava (clinkery aa vs. viscous pahoehoe), etc. But Dorian Weisel's photographs give this book its appeal: Lava gushing like water in a fountain; cars and houses disappearing in a fiery rain of ash; molten rock exploding as it strikes cold seawater. The reader wonders how Weisel shot these dazzling pictures without being incinerated.

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