- from Volcanoes
Once volcanoes begin to erupt, nobody can stop them.
But by studying volcanoes, people can limit the damage they do. Information about a volcano’s past eruptions helps scientists predict how the volcano may behave in the future. Volcanologists, scientists who study volcanoes, examine old lava flows, ash layers, and other evidence. They figure out a history of eruptions through millions of years.
Volcanologists also study the day-to-day life of volcanoes to find warning signs of coming eruptions. Some signs, like increased ash or fumes from the crater, are easy to see. Others, like minor earthquakes, are so small that only scientific instruments can detect them. Volcano-watching techniques are far from perfect, but they are improving—and they’re better than guessing.