top of page

Surviving Galeras


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. Williams lay helpless and near death on Galeras’ flank until two brave women — friends and fellow volcanologists — mounted an astonishing rescue effort to carry him safely off the mountain.


Williams’ dramatic story, written with co-author Fen Montaigne, forms the narrative heart of 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 the lives of many people.

“Williams and Montaigne leap nimbly back and forth through the centuries. Their heart-stopping accounts of the explosion and the rescue efforts at Galeras are certainly grist for Hollywood’s blockbuster mill . . . [This] book is popular science at its best and a moving personal tragedy to boot.”

- The Sunday New York Times Book Review

“Williams and Montaigne capture a nightmare too real for Dante to have imagined. Surviving Galeras artfully blends science writing and history with pure, heart-pounding action.”

- Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down

bottom of page