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No apparent danger : the true story of volcanic disaster at Galeras and Nevado del Ruiz /
Victoria Bruce.
1st ed.
New York : HarperCollins, 2001.
x, 239 p. : ill., maps
More Details
New York : HarperCollins, 2001.
general note
Includes index.
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A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2001-03-19:
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. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2001-03-15:
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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, February 2001
Kirkus Reviews, March 2001
Library Journal, March 2001
Publishers Weekly, March 2001
Boston Globe, April 2001
New York Times Book Review, April 2001
USA Today, April 2001
Wall Street Journal, April 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
List of Scientists
Prologue: Pasto, Colombia. March 12, 2000p. 1
Nevado del Ruiz
The Great Mountain. Arbolito, Colombia. November 13, 1985p. 11
Birth of the Andesp. 21
Ghosts in the Kitchen. Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia. December 16, 1984p. 37
A Horrible Confluence. Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia. November 13, 1985p. 61
The Mud. Armero, Colombia. November 15, 1985p. 67
The Invasion. Manizales, Colombia. November 1985-April 1988p. 79
Urcunina, the Fire Mountain. Pasto, Colombia. April 1988p. 89
Dissecting Galeras. Pasto, Colombia. January 6-13, 1993p. 115
To the Mountain. Galeras, Colombia. January 14, 1993p. 131
The Descent into Galeras. Galeras, Colombia. January 14, 1993p. 139
The Eruptionp. 155
The Rescuep. 161
The Aftermathp. 187
Conflicting Accountsp. 199
Epilogue: Winter 1996-Summer 2000p. 223
Acknowledgmentsp. 227
Indexp. 233
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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