Volcanologists from the University of Georgia and two Swiss universities found a link between carbon dioxide and the volume of gas trapped in magma, which could help predict the intensity and magnitude of a volcanic eruption. Higher levels of CO2, they found, lead to an increase in the total volume of gas in magma, which may result in violent, explosive eruptions.

The new findings could one day lead to better early-warning systems for people who live in the vicinity of volcanoes, though the study’s lead author, Mattia Pistone, cautioned that much additional work is needed for such a practical application.

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