Prediction of volcanic eruptions

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Prediction of volcanic eruptions

Why do we need to monitor eruptions?

The main reason why volcanoes are monitored is because of the risk of destructive volcanic activity such as pyroclastic flows, lahars, lava flows and ash falls. These hazards cause long term damage to villages and towns which are situated close to the volcanoes.  Towns and villages which are unaware of the volcanic activity can suffer a tremendous loss of life if there is no warnings from the government of future eruptions, therefore the volcanoes need to be measured in order to predict and hazardous volcanic eruptions from volcanoes which are threatening to destroy the surrounding areas.

It is important that scientists communicate with local government officials and the general public about hazards produced by the volcanoes in their area. This interaction and the development of an emergency plan with established lines of communication will hopefully save lives and encourage better land use planning.

Many advances have been made in the study of volcanoes particularly in eruption prediction. The problem with volcanoes is that, though there may be similarities between volcanoes, every volcano behaves differently and has its own set of hazards. By studying how, and why volcanoes occur and erupt without warning will produce information which further the study of predicting volcanoes. That is why it's important for scientists to study and monitor volcanoes.

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Techniques to predict volcanic eruptions

Changes in ground level:

Tilt meters have long been used to study active volcanoes by monitoring their changing shape and steepness before and during eruptions. When pressurised magma enters the magma chamber beneath a volcano, the ground is forced upward, causing the slopes of the volcano to tilt away from the centre of uplift. Before an eruption occurs, magma flows toward the surface, deflating the magma chamber and causing a reversal in the tilt directions. This characteristic behaviour, coupled with measurements of earthquake frequency and magnitude, several tilt meters may be placed ...

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