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Kristina D.C. Hoeppner / Flickr

Volcanoes are not easy to study. Scientists trek over debris fields to place networks of GPS that track the movement of the ground, record earthquakes caused by magma moving through the mountain and even gather lava. But all of this research is done on the surface. One major piece of data was missing: what happens inside of a volcano before it erupts.A new study, published in Science, used crystals in magma to create a temperature record of the inside of a volcano in New Zealand.

Why it matters: If scientists can understand the behavior of a volcano right before it releases lava, they may be able to predict the eruptions.

How they did it: Silicon crystals contain radioactive uranium and thorium whose decay can be used to determine the age of the crystals. Then, they looked at the distribution of lithium within the crystal to determine how often it was exposed to high temperatures. By combining the data, the researchers were able to create an extremely detailed timeline of temperatures inside a volcano before an eruption.

What they found:

For thousands of years, the magma inside of the volcano was cold (well, cold for magma) before temperatures skyrocketed to over 650 degrees Celsius. Not long after, the volcano would erupt. This is one piece of evidence in a debate over whether magma in volcanoes is always molten, or if it only becomes hot before an eruption. This supports the results of a previous,

similar study of Mt. Hood

, a volcano in Oregon.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 5 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.