Through a harrowing first-person account of an eruption and its aftermath, SURVIVING GALERAS reveals the fascinating, high-risk realm of volcalogy and explores the profound impact volcaes have had on the earth's landscapes and civilizations. In 1993, Stanley Williams, an eminent volcalogist, was standing on top of a Colombian volca 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 volcalogists -- 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 volcaes, their physical and cultural impact, and the tiny cadre of scientists who risk their own lives to gain kwledge that might one day save many others' lives. Volcaes 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 volcalogist, on average, dies each year. Yet Williams and his fellow scientist-adventurers continue to unveil the enigmatic and miraculous workings of volcaes and to piece together methods for predicting their actions. Volcalogists often put themselves in peril, t only because the discipline attracts risk-takers but because they kw that volcaes threaten as many as 500 million people worldwide. For Seattle, Tokyo, Mexico City, Naples -- and for volcalogists -- the clock is ticking.