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Environment

How volcano ‘music’ helps scientists predict eruptions

You might not think of volcanoes as particularly musical, but they do actually generate infrasound (frequencies below the range of human hearing).

Just like a horn’s sound changes based on the shape and flare of the bell, a volcano’s sound can change according to the depth and shape of its crater.

For instance, a volcano with a deep crater might produce a deep sound, while a volcano with a shallower crater would produce a higher-pitched sound. Narrow craters also resonate for longer periods of time, while wide, dish-like craters might not resonate at all. And finally, the flare of the crater’s rim changes their sound’s ‘timbre’, or ‘colour’ – a feature we also use when describing singers’ voices.

All of which means that scientists tracking such sounds can predict when a volcano may be about to erupt, based on changes to the sound emitted – originating from changes in the shape of the volcano producing it.

View the original video here.

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