Volcanoes have been vital to life on earth. A colder lava helped to form the ground masses. Gases from volcanoes helped to create our environment. But despite the growing field of volcanology, there are many that we do not understand about volcanic eruptions.
That is partly because volcanoes are not easy to study. Getting the right equipment in remote locations under unpredictable circumstances can be difficult. More importantly, the study of active volcanoes can be dangerous.
That is why a group of 40 scientists and engineers from all over the world came together to emulate volcanic eruptions. We tagged with them as they carried out their experiments at the University at Buffalo Geohazards Field Station, a former football test site for military weapons in the New Uplands.
The scientists simulated volcanic eruptions by firing underground explosives. They wanted to study what happened during rapid fire explosions in a safe and controlled environment. Although large explosions often make the news, rapid fire volcanic eruptions are much more common.
Some scientists were there to study the sound released by the explosions, including sound waves under a human hearing. Another group concentrated on tracing the debris and flew from the explosions. One group was committed to visually recording the simulation using fast, infra-red, drones and 3D video cameras.
Ultimately, the researchers wanted to improve in terms of predicting volcanic behavior in terms of hazards. For example, if scientists can accurately predict how many debris are going to fly from a volcano and in what direction, they can better predict how close people can live to a particular volcano and which may need to be moved in a case. o explosion.
"Ultimately there is a volcanologist's motivation to help us to do better for future crises." says volcanologist Alison Graettinger. He says that the time the researchers spend in the simulation will help prepare them for real-world scenarios. "Some of these teams will use this same tool in an active volcano," Graettigner said. "And they're going to make sure their measurements are the best they can be because of their time here."