A Slippery Problem with Explosive Consequences

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Science  26 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5406, pp. 1275-1276
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5406.1275

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Water has remarkable effects on the properties of geochemical materials such as magma. The result is that a small change in water concentration can make the difference between explosive volcanic eruptions and less violent ones. In his Perspective, Spera discusses results reported in the same issue by Ochs and Lange on new measurements of the amount of water in molten silicates. The findings will add new insight to the atomic structure of these materials as well as the effects of water on them.