VOLCANOLOGY

A pre-eruptive fever

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Science  14 May 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6543, pp. 699-700
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6543.699-c

A steam-blast (phreatic) eruption from Mount Ontake, Japan

PHOTO: AP PHOTO/KYODO NEWS

Determining when volcanoes will erupt is important but difficult and often relies on measuring seismicity or deformation. Girona et al. added surface heat to that list, suggesting that a thermal signal precedes eruption by years. The increase in surface heat is subtle and likely due to underground hydrothermal activity, but it also can be detected with satellite observations and may allow early detection for the eruption of different types of volcanoes. This could be particularly important for phreatic eruptions that often occur with little to no warning.

Nat. Geosci. 14, 238 (2021).

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