How to predict volcano eruptions

Iceland’s volcanic belt has 35 active volcanoes. In 2010 when just one of them, Eyjafjallajoküll, blew its top European air traffic was paralysed for a month, at a very high cost to airlines.

Iceland’s active volcanoes could erupt at any time, so European scientists are closely monitoring them. They want to better understand what happens before, during, and after an eruption.

But the European supersite research project is not only about infrasound devices. There is GPS, a strain network, gas sensors, water flow for hydrological chemical dispersion, electrical field sensors, weather radars and ash fall meters.

With these new methods, and a better knowledge of volcanic crisis, a warning, even a short term one, is still better than no warning at all. These new data may prove vital next time. When the signs occur, the eruption is always imminent.