Under every volcano is a complex web of tunnels, chasms, magma pockets, and connections between. How they interact may lead to knowledge of how a volcano performs and erupts. Two new studies into the plumbing systems that lie under volcanoes could bring scientists closer to predicting large eruptions. International teams of researchers, led by the University of Leeds, studied the location and behavior of magma chambers on the Earth's mid-ocean ridge system - a vast chain of volcanoes along which the Earth forms new crust. They worked in Afar (Ethiopia) and Iceland - the only places where mid-ocean ridges appear above sea level. Volcanic ridges (or spreading centers) occur when tectonic plates rift or pull apart. Magma (hot molten rock) injects itself into weaknesses in the brittle upper crust, erupting as lava and forming new crust upon cooling.
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