There are many signs that a volcano is getting ready to erupt. When scientists study volcanoes they can use that data to say what the situation is and what actions need to take place. Here are some of the things scientists look for in a volcano ready to blow its top…
One of the first things scientists will look for is when the volcano last erupted. This is a very bland, yet helpful piece of evidence. If the volcano has been active in the past few years then they know that it probably has a good chance of erupting. If it hasn’t erupted in a while then they are thinking that it has erupted before but not in a while, so it may or may not explode. And if it’s been hundred’s of years since the volcano’s last explosion, it’s not very likely to erupt now. The last time the volcano exploded can play a role in predicting its explosion.
Another thing that volcano’s will do before an eruption is give off small tremors, or earthquakes. As the volcano gets closer to eruption the earthquakes will become more violent and last longer. Scientists will put seismographs on the slopes of the volcano and keep an eye on the readings from them.
The third sign is volcanic gasses. The materials inside the volcano give off gas, weather its pyroclastic material or magma something will be released. Scientists use special instruments to measure the gasses in the air. The most commonly found gas is sulfur dioxide. Gasses in the air can also tell what material is inside the volcano therefore they know more of what the outcome will be when it explodes.
Usually the last sign that a volcano will exhibit is ground deformation. This can be shown in many ways such as a creator, or a swelling in the side. When the volcano is showing this sign that means magma is accumulating near the surface and is building its pressure to erupt. Scientists will measure the slope of the volcano and watch the rate it’s growing at. The faster the rate the grounds moving, the closer to eruption day.
After scientists have studied a volcano and its showing signs of eruption, their job is to tell the public what is going on and to get ready to evacuate. The volcano needs to be showing almost all of the signs of eruption and need to be getting close to the very severe end of them. When the volcano is to this point the area will be evacuated.
Although scientists are not able to predict the exact moment a volcano will erupt, they are getting very good at guessing when it’s getting close. As their resources expand the prediction will become more exact. But as you can see, scientists have many ways of predicting when a volcano will erupt.