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Surviving Galeras

Stanley & Fen Montaigne Williams

98 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0316855707 / ISBN 13: 9780316855709
Published by Houghton Mifflin, 2001
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Surviving Galeras

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

About this title

Synopsis:

A volcanologist, Williams was atop the Columbian volcano Galeras when it erupted in 1993. Though six of his colleagues died, he was rescued. His story offers insight on the traumatic events of that day, as well as a meaningful look at the dangerous profession that led him into the crater.

Review:

On January 14, 1993, Stanley Williams led a party of fellow geologists up Galeras, a Colombian volcano that, though historically active, had been lying quiet long enough that they suspected it was due for an episode--and thus an opportunity for the volcanologists to practice their predicting skills. As they reached the lip of its great crater, Galeras obliged them with a vengeance: it erupted in a burst of fire and toxic gas, killing several members of the party and leaving Williams scorched and broken, "sprawled on my side, caked in ash and blood, wet from the rain, bones protruding from my burned clothes, my jaw hanging slackly."

Rescued by two colleagues, Marta Velasco and Patty Mothes, Williams faced several challenges in the years to come--not only healing his body and exorcising the ghosts of Galeras, but also contending with other colleagues' whispered charges that he should have known the mountain was about to blow. But death, Williams and collaborator Fen Montaigne (Reeling in Russia) write, comes with the territory. Whenever a volcano has erupted in recent years, it seems, a volcanologist is among its victims, for, Williams notes, "the best way to understand a volcano is still, in my opinion, to climb it," and to climb it in all of its moods. And those moods, Williams and Montaigne add, are not easy to forecast, even if earth scientists have developed ever more accurate ways to predict events such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

At once a study in mountains, the history of geology, and the will to endure, Surviving Galeras is often terrifying, and altogether memorable. --Gregory McNamee

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