Stephen L. Harris grew up in western Washington where the views of Mount Rainier, with its mantle of glacial ice and steaming summit crater, inspired a life-long interest in the eruptive potential of the Cascade volcanoes. During the last several decades Harris has experienced intimately some of nature's most spectacular powers. He has climbed over, under, and inside active glaciers, scaled icy mountains to camp inside steaming craters, shuddered with the thrill of the earth trembling beneath his feet, and viewed a death-dealing volcanic eruption at close range.
In 1976 he published Fire and Ice, the first book devoted to surveying the geologic history and assessing the volcanic hazards of each major peak in the Cascade Range. Pursuing an avocation in geology, Harris has also published Agents of Chaos (Mountain Press, 1990), which deals with earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters.