Volcanoes may have originally been the source of life on Earth. But today they cause death, and nearly 500 million people live close enough to the planet’s 600 currently active volcanoes. We need to find a way to PREDICT when these mountains are going to explode!

New research suggests that lightening and volcanoes may have sparked early life on Earth because the essential building blocks of life may have reached the surface of the earth through volcanic eruptions. It is commonly thought that early Earth was comprised of many small volcanic islands. But where does lightning fit in? Researchers now think that lightning released gases associated with these volcanic eruptions could have been another method that produced the necessary chemical components to give rise to early life.

For the first time, scientists have identified the seismic signals that precede a volcanic eruption. Researcher Paul Young says, “We cannot predict eruptions with total accuracy, but understanding these pre-eruption events better will help cities and towns near volcanoes know better whether they need to take the precaution of having people evacuate the area or not.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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