Saturday, September 09, 2006

British scientists make great discovery!

BRITISH scientists believe they have made a breakthrough in being able to predict the effect of volcanic eruptions, after studying Mount St Helens in the United States.

The mountain, which exploded dramatically in 1980, became active again two years ago. But using a new technique, scientists believe it is unlikely to result in another major catastrophe.
They have found by studying rocks coming out of a volcano that it is possible to gauge how much pressure the magma under the ground is experiencing.

Low pressure and a thick, sticky magma means that a sudden and violent explosion is unlikely, while high pressure suggests that there is greater risk.

Professor Jon Blundy, of Bristol University, and his former colleague, Dr Madelaine Humphreys, who is now at Cambridge University, studied the chemical content and texture of volcanic rocks from Mount St Helens and Shiveluch in eastern Russia and unveiled the results at the British Association's Festival of Science and in the journal Nature yesterday.

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