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October 7 2012

Maar Volcanoes: Odd Explosions Beneath Earth Explained


The eruption of a so-called maar-diatreme volcano is short-lived but violent. Magma creeps up through a crack in the Earth's crust and mixes with water, setting off a series of explosions as many as a few each hour for several weeks. When the action stops, a crater-topped, rock-filled fracture called a diatreme is left behind.

Now researchers are proposing a new way to think about how these structures are formed, which could help geologists predict eruptions and find new sources of diamonds.

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