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Where, and When, Will the Next Volcano Erupt?
Volcanologist Andrew McGonigle is developing early-warning detection equipment for eruptions.
Scottish physicist and volcanologist Andrew McGonigle has spent the better part of two decades trying to improve the odds of forecasting eruptions. On average, an eruption occurs 50 times a year. Collectively, they've killed thousands of people since 1980, displaced or injured thousands more, and caused widespread economic and environmental losses.
McGonigle’s research has focused largely on adapting and refining technology that could lessen the havoc of volcanic blasts.
Volcanic detective work centers on sensing techniques and on improving the 1970s-era correlation spectrometer, used to monitor sulphur dioxide levels. The correlation spectrometer weighs 44 pounds and costs about $60,000. McGonigle wrote computer software and defined hardware protocols enabling the use of compact, commercial-grade spectrometers that cost just $4,000 and