'Highway from hell' shows volcanoes with a short fuse
PARIS, France (AFP) - A subterranean "highway from hell" enables some volcanoes to erupt at super-speed, a discovery that also throws up options for predicting the peril, according to a study published in Nature on Wednesday.
Volcanoes disgorge molten rock generated within the mantle, the layer sandwiched between Earth's crust and fiery core.
The magma gathers in a chamber beneath the volcano, progressively rising until the pressure - detectable over time by rumblings at the surface - becomes too great and an eruption occurs.
Conventional wisdom has it that the mantle magma creeps upwards before it reaches the chamber, lingering for long periods in a kind of halfway house several kilometres beneath the volcano.