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Supervolcanoes may start out cold and erupt quick

The Yellowstone Caldera was formed by a series of supervolcano eruptions. Photo: lucky-photographer / iStock

Scientists think they've uncovered the process that precedes a super-volcanic eruption, potentially allowing them to read the signs leading up to these rare, catastrophic events, per the NYT. They believe underground magma heats up relatively quickly before an eruption, awakening dormant supervolcanoes.

Why it matters: The findings mean that the mechanisms behind super-volcanic eruptions might take place on human timescales — maybe only decades. This research might help to predict these potentially apocalyptic events as well as more typical volcanic activity.