Hidden magma pools pose eruption risks that we can’t yet detect — ScienceDaily

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Volcanologists’ ability to estimate eruption risks is largely reliant on knowing where pools of magma are stored, deep in the Earth’s crust. But what happens if the magma can’t be spotted?

Shane Rooyakkers, a postdoctoral scholar at GNS Science in New Zealand, grew up in the shadow of Mount Taranaki on the country’s North Island, hiking on the island’s many volcanoes. Today, his research is revealing hidden dangers that may have been beneath his feet all along.

A new study, published yesterday in Geology, explores a threat volcanologists discovered only recently: surprisingly shallow magma pools that are too small to be detected with common volcano monitoring equipment. Such a magma body was discovered in Iceland in 2009, when scientists with the Iceland Deep Drilling Project accidentally drilled directly into the molten rock two kilometers shallower than the depths where magma had…

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