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The fight currently raging within the volcanological community, sketched by the discrepancies between Bruce's work and Stanley Williams and Fen Montaigne's Surviving Galeras (reviewed below), concerns what is known about predicting eruptions, and particularly about Galeras when it blew, and why nine people died in that eruption (see PW, Book News, Feb. 12). In Bruce's harrowing depiction of the 1985 Nevado del Ruiz eruption, which killed 23,000 people, scientists and survivors describe bureaucratic foolishness, scientific discovery and human strife. In her presentation of the 1993 eruption of Galeras, another Colombian volcano, numerous interviews illuminate further human folly, and particularly Williams's pariah status among geologists. Seismologist Bernard Chouet's testimony discredits Williams's assertion that there was no warning of the eruption. Previously, Chouet had successfully predicted two eruptions from seismographic patterns also visible when Galeras erupted. While Williams says this was never brought to his attention, Bruce notes that leading a team into an active volcano without checking available data hardly seems responsible scientific practice. Chouet claims he presented his prediction technique, with Williams present, in 1991. Further, expedition members contend that, despite Galeras's signs of activity, Williams ignored advice to shorten the visit. One survivor says Williams took no safety precautions and mocked his colleagues who wore hard hats. Scientist and journalist Bruce traces the fascinating recent history of Colombian volcanoes and the scientific community's politics, wherein intellectual property generates fame and near-fortune, in an insightful, spellbinding account. Photos and illus. (Apr. 2)Forecast: Bruce's 11-city tour, participation in Columbia University's Earth Science Colloquium in March and the much-publicized Galeras debacle promise big sales.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In 1993, a Colombian volcano named Galeras erupted, killing six scientists and three tourists inside its rim and severely injuring the expedition's leader, eminent vulcanalogist Williams. Could this tragedy have been avoided? Could the eruption have been predicted? Two new books debate those questions from opposite ends of the spectrum. Williams offers a firsthand account of the disaster, which traumatized him physically and psychologically, while Bruce, a science writer with a master's degree in geology, provides an investigative journalist's perspective. Arguing that there is no method of accurately predicting eruptions, Williams defends his actions, and his book reads as a partial apology to the nine who died and to all who were injured. Bruce, who also discusses a 1985 eruption at another Colombian volcano that left 23,000 people dead (studied in a referreed scientific publication by Williams), writes in a more sensational style, accusing Williams of not being a "team player" (for years the scientist claimed he was the only survivor despite evidence to the contrary) and ignoring a seismologist's research indicating that Galeras was ready to explode. However, both authors agree that Marta Calvache and Patty Mothes, two Colombian geologists who ran into the volcano to rescue people, were heroes at Galeras. Williams acknowledges that he owes his life to Calvache's actions. Perhaps the whole story still is not known, but both books read together make a try. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. Jean E. Crampon, Science & Engineering Lib., Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Fascinating back story on the events
Well written, dramatic
Would read it again
Very interesting reading. I found the face and depth of the story held my attention.
Characters were well defined, even if they were not always likeable. Read more
Excellent book, very well-written, and covered a lot of angles (view of scientists, lack of funding/attention/experience in a politically unstable country, the science and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Chelsea Mack
I would recommend this book to everyone that has ever been interested in volcanoes. Very well told and descriptive enough to get a visual image and still be respectful. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Diane R. Dittmar
This book caught my attention the first page and I couldn't put it down. The politics, the scientists, the mountains, the people that lived in danger, the people that were passing... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Lee
It's hard for a book to really keep my interest these days, but this one did. It was written for an everyday person, not the scientist and so this held me tight and on the edge of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by D. Adams
I remember hearing about the scientists who were killed on Galares, but this really goes in depth on what happened behind the scenes.Published 8 months ago by Chet M. Bush
The book is well-researched and offers another perspective on scientific study regarding volcanoes while providing an excellent counterpoint to the earlier Williams/Montaigne work.Published 21 months ago by apvienna
It will suit you if you have been to the places where the volcanoes are but even if you are just into volcanoes you will get something out of it.Published on September 10, 2013 by lily ennis