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Volcano season.

Seasons can affect your moods, but can they uncork a volcano? Geologist Ben Mason, from the University of Cambridge in England, tallied 300 years' worth of monthly eruptions from the world's most active volcanoes. Result: These sporadic scorchers explode more often from December through February.

Why? Some scientists think snow build-up in winter squishes the North Pole, making Earth's middle latitudes fatter. This tiny shape change relieves pressure, or weight, from volcanoes and may jolt an eruption--like uncapping a shaken bottle of soda.

Look at the graph below: Which season is least active?

FAST MOVERS: In an eruption, lava can travel up to 100 kilometers per hour (60 miles per hour)!


Mason's data (shown below) found a pattern in volcanic eruptions--something geologists have sought for over a century.
 Number of eruptions
 Season in the last 300 years

 (Dec.-Feb.) 1,185

 (Mar.-May) 1,117

 (Jun.-Aug.) 1,013

(Sept.-Nov.) 1,026

* indicates a gap in the scale

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Title Annotation:Graph It!
Author:Bryner, Jeanna
Publication:Science World
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 12, 2004
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