You can use a geophysical instrument at AGI to study volcanic action, so you may be wondering if this means that it is possible to predict when a volcano is going to erupt. Over the course of human history, these events have always been very sudden and unexpected. That is why people have been killed, as happened at Pompeii when they were buried in ash. If the eruptions could be predicted, though, lives could be saved.
To some degree, it is now possible to predict an eruption. Scientists can look at when the volcanos have erupted in the past and see if one is due. However, they cannot do this with enough accuracy to tell people when to move. They can just generally guess that it should go off in a hundred years or so, but they cannot pinpoint a month or even a year. That is still beyond what modern technology can accomplish, though it is the center of a lot of research.
What scientists can do is monitor volcanos to look for the earliest warning signs that they are about to erupt. This can help them point out a potential problem days or perhaps weeks before it happens. This is not one hundred percent accurate, but it certainly helps. A few days are enough time to get people out of harm’s way. There is hope that they will be able to move this warning time back in the future until they are predicting major eruptions months in advance.
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