Crystal chemistry suggests magma changes quickly before a huge eruption
Long-slumbering volcanoes can jolt to life faster than students drinking Red Bull, a new study suggests.
Studies of millennia-old rocks that erupted at Santorini, Greece, show that the chemical composition of its magma changed just a few decades before the volcano blew its top around 1600 B.C. That blast came after 18,000 years of relative calm.
“All this happens at a very late stage relative to this long period of repose,” says Tim Druitt, a volcanologist at the Blaise Pascal University in Clermont-Ferrand, France. “There’s kind of a rapid wake up.”