Making Rocks
Jim Webster
Here's what I do!
Intro
Step 1
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Step 3
Visit Jim's Lab
Introduction
Before we get started in the lab, there are a few things to know about volcanoes.

Magma is hot, melted rock found inside the Earth. It collects deep under a volcano in an area called a magma chamber. Over time, magma and gases like water vapor and carbon dioxide build up in the magma chamber. When the pressure becomes too great, a volcano will erupt.

Soda bottle You can think of a magma chamber as a bottle of soda. The soda is like the magma and the fizz represents all the gases in the magma. When the cap is on, the fizz is under a lot of pressure, but it is dissolved in the magma. Soda bottle fizzing

When you crack open the soda bottle, the pressure is released, or suddenly lowered. As the gases try to come out of the soda, bubbles are formed. As soon as bubbles form, they want to escape the liquid. This causes an explosion.
In the same way, when a crack opens up above the magma chamber, the magma bursts out in an eruption. When a volcano is explosive, we know there were lots of gases dissolved in the magma.

I want to find out how various gases behave in magma at different temperatures and pressures. When do the gases dissolve in magma? How are the gases released? When do they cause an explosive eruption?

My goal is to understand, and even predict, explosive volcanic eruptions. This could protect the 500 million people across the planet who live near active volcanoes!

Step 1: Visit Volcanoes and Collect Rocks