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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

Trump pressures Barr to release so-called Durham report

Bill Barr. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his allies are piling extreme pressure on Attorney General Bill Barr to release a report that Trump believes could hurt perceived Obama-era enemies — and view Barr's designation of John Durham as special counsel as a stall tactic, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Speculation over Barr's fate grew on Tuesday, with just 49 days remaining in Trump's presidency, after Barr gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
4 hours ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.