Galeras, Fuego, St. Helens, Kilauea, Popocatepetl. These are names of currently active volcanoes. They all have the ability to end human life, destroy millions of dollars of property, and instill fear. Volcanoes are necessary to build mountains, create new geological features, and are, figuratively speaking, the veins of our planet. Despite the brilliance and vividness of volcanoes, there is an intensity that cannot be escaped. This intensity has caused the deaths of over 30,000 people in just the last two decades. That's why it's important for scientists to be able predict when a volcano will erupt.
To get an idea as to what's happening beneath the surface, vocanologists measure the temperature and gas content of magma as it rises in underground chambers, as well as changes in the movement of the nearby surface. Their goal is to recognize all the predictable signs of an eruption and, like a jigsaw puzzle, put them all together into predictions that are accurate.