Forecasting Doom: New Tech Could Help Predict Volcanic Eruptions

Satellite and sensor upgrades may make it easier to detect future eruptions.

It was 1975 on the Caribbean island of Basse-Terre, part of Guadeloupe. Beyond a green stretch of jungle, the volcano La Soufrière de Guadeloupe loomed. The island’s capital, also called Basse-Terre, lay nestled between the ocean and the towering peak, which hadn’t had a major eruption since around 1530. But that July, La Soufrière began showing signs of life.

Debate ensued among seismologists over the chances of a major eruption; some saw evidence that molten magma below the Earth’s crust was rising. By November, authorities were scrambling to craft an emergency plan for the city and the surrounding area, then home to roughly 75,000 people. In August of the following year, at least 72,000 residents were evacuated.

DSCCV0719web

The full text of this article is available to Discover Magazine subscribers only.

Subscribe and get 10 issues packed with:
  • The latest news, theories and developments in the world of science
  • Compelling stories and breakthroughs in health, medicine and the mind
  • Environmental issues and their relevance to daily life
  • Cutting-edge technology and its impact on our future
Already a subscriber? Register now!
Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on DiscoverMagazine.com, please log in.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
DSCCV0719web
+