British scientists have identified a new underground trigger that causes volcanic eruptions, which, they believe, when combined with other monitoring methods, can lead to better prediction of eruptions.
The scientists from Britain's University of Bristol and the University of Oregon in the United States studied volcanic magma, or the molten rock that comes out of volcanic eruptions and found that it heats itself up as it rises from deep below the surface and this could be the important trigger for an eruption.
Prof Jon Blundy of the University of Bristol, told the BA Festival of Science at Norwich that his team developed a novel technique for understanding what went on during the eruptions of two active volcanoes -- Mount St. Helens in the United States, which killed 57 people in 1980, and Shiveluch on Kamchatka peninsula in far-eastern Siberia. He said it was found that as the magma ascended beneath the volcano just before the eruption, it crystallized following a drop in pressure and got hotter at the same time. The temperature could have risen by 100 degrees Celsius, he said.