Tiny crystal balls may help predict future volcanoes

Why do volcanoes erupt? Novel insights from deep-earth crystals

Volcanic eruptions are major natural hazards: they threaten human life, disrupt air traffic and affect our climate. Ten per cent of people worldwide live near an active volcano.

We need to understand why, how and when volcanic eruptions start, to improve prediction of volcanic activity in the future.

Teresa Ubide (the University of Queensland) and her team have developed laser technology that allows them to extract new information from tiny volcanic crystals that hold the secrets of what triggered eruptions in the past.

The crystals have come from eruptions deep in the earth. Such crystals, often smaller than a grain of salt, formed inside the volcano and were transported to the surface by erupting lava.

Their new laser science has the potential to unlock such secrets and improve volcano-monitoring efforts in the future.

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