Beneath a Sleeping Volcano, Magma Mush Lies in Wait

6:51 minutes

The magma stored beneath a volcano isn’t always liquid, but spends most of its time in a relatively cold, solid state, according to research published this week in the journal Nature. Kari Cooper, a geochemist at the University of California – Davis, says the transition from a crystal-rich magmatic “mush” to a less viscous magma that could erupt is like heating up a jar of peanut butter taken from the fridge. She’s trying to develop a better understanding of the behavior within magma chambers—information that could one day lead to improved monitoring of volcano hazards.

Segment Guests

Kari Cooper

Kari Cooper is an associate professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Davis in Davis, California.

Meet the Producer

About Charles Bergquist

As Science Friday’s director, Charles Bergquist channels the chaos of a live production studio into something sounding like a radio program. Favorite topics include planetary sciences, chemistry, materials, and shiny things with blinking lights.