Washington volcanoes receive more scientific scrutiny

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Monday, July 21, 2014

LA Times: Using incredibly sensitive instruments, scientists have followed the magma from the Earth's belly to the base of Mt. Rainier.

The scientists found that most of the volcano’s magma forms deep in the mantle, where water trapped in old oceanic crust escapes and melts the rocks around it. The magma then rises more or less straight up in a massive column toward the surface, pooling in a reservoir beneath the 14,000-foot peak.

“A study like this isn’t going to tell us when Mt. Rainier will erupt the next time,” said Martyn Unsworth, a geophysicist at the University of Alberta in Canada. “What it does is give a bigger picture: why volcanoes are where they are.”

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