This true, up-close account of a volcano’s eruption “artfully blends science writing and history with pure, heart-pounding action” (Mark Bowden, bestselling author of Black Hawk Down).
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.
Surviving Galeras is both a harrowing first-person account of an eruption and its aftermath, and a look at the fascinating, high-risk world of volcanology, exploring the profound impact volcanoes have had on the earth’s landscapes and civilizations.
Even with improved, highly-sensitive measuring tools and protective equipment, at least one volcanologist, on average, dies each year. This book reveals how Williams and his fellow scientist-adventurers continue to unveil the enigmatic and miraculous workings of volcanoes and piece together methods to predict their actions—potentially saving many human lives.
“I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent book . . . [A] riveting story.” —Dava Sobel, author of The Glass Universe
“Popular science at its best.” —The New York Times
“[A] page-turner.” —Booklist