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

Americans reflect on Independence Day amid racism reckoning

A Black Lives Matter banner and a United States flag on the facade of the U.S. embassy building in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Simon Shin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

America's leaders are rethinking how they view Independence Day, as the country reckons with the historic, unequal treatment of people of color during a pandemic which has disproportionately affected nonwhite Americans.

Why it matters: The country’s legacy of racism has come into sharp focus in the weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. From Confederate statues to Mount Rushmore, Americans are reexamining the symbols and traditions they elevate and the history behind them.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 11,031,905 — Total deaths: 523,777 — Total recoveries — 5,834,337Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 2,788,395 — Total deaths: 129,306 — Total recoveries: 790,404 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  5. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.
15 hours ago - Sports

Washington Redskins to review team name amid public pressure

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins have announced they will be conducting a review of the team's name after mounting pressure from the public and corporate sponsors.

Why it matters: This review is the first formal step the Redskins are taking since the debate surrounding the name first began. It comes after weeks of discussions between the team and the NFL, the team said.