Surviving Galeras by Stanley Williams & Fen Montaigne

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Through a harrowing first-person account of an eruption and its aftermath, SURVIVING GALERAS reveals the fascinating, high-risk realm of volcanology and explores the profound impact volcanoes have had on the earth's landscapes and civilizations.
In 1993, Stanley Williams, an eminent volcanologist, was standing on top of a Colombian volcano called Galeras when it erupted, killing six of his colleagues instantly. As Williams tried to escape the blast, he was pelted with white-hot projectiles traveling faster than bullets. Within seconds he was cut down, his skull fractured, his right leg almost severed, his backpack aflame. Williams lay helpless and near death on Galeras's flank until two brave women -- friends and fellow volcanologists -- mounted an astonishing rescue effort to carry him safely off the mountain.
The tale of how Williams survived Galeras is the framework for a groundbreaking book about volcanoes, their physical and cultural impact, and the tiny cadre of scientists who risk their own lives to gain knowledge that might one day save many others' lives.
Volcanoes unleash supremely powerful, unpredictable forces, and we have paid dearly for our understanding of their behavior. Even with ever more sensitive measuring tools and protective equipment, at least one volcanologist, on average, dies each year. Yet Williams and his fellow scientist-adventurers continue to unveil the enigmatic and miraculous workings of volcanoes and to piece together methods for predicting their actions. Volcanologists often put themselves in peril, not only because the discipline attracts risk-takers but because they know that volcanoes threaten as many as 500 million people worldwide. For Seattle, Tokyo, Mexico City, Naples -- and for volcanologists -- the clock is ticking.

About Stanley Williams & Fen Montaigne

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STANLEY WILLIAMS, a professor of volcanology at Arizona State University, received his Ph.D. in geology from Dartmouth in 1983. In more than two decades of research, he has worked on dozens of volcanoes on five continents. In 1993, during a conference in Pasto, Colombia, on the threat posed by nearby Galeras, he led fifteen scientists into the dormant volcano's crater to check its vital signs - gas emissions, minute gravity changes, and the like. Galeras's sudden eruption killed several of his colleagues and nearly cost Williams his life. In the wake of the eruption, Williams has requently appeared in national media to discuss his own harrowing experiences and volcanoes in general. Fen Montaigne is a freelance writer who often contributes to National Geographic. His previous books include Surviving Galeras (Houghton Mifflin, 2001), Reeling in Russia (St. Martin's, 1998), and The First Directorate (St. Martin's, 1994).
Published April 17, 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 314 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, History, Professional & Technical, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

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It’s a saw among magazine editors that it is impossible to write interestingly about geology, but Williams and Montaigne do a fine job of detailing how and why volcanoes form and how volcanologists go about the business of predicting when one of the world’s 1,500-odd volcanoes is going to blow—wo...

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Publishers Weekly

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Williams, a geology professor at Arizona State University, headed the team on the cone of Colombia's Galeras volcano when it erupted in 1993.

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