HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Scientists are studying lava flows in hopes of making such natural phenomena more predictable.
The Hawaii Tribune reports that the three-year study includes Hawaii and mainland scientists who want to better understand how small changes in topography and other variables can alter or stop the molten rock.
University of Hawaii at Manoa volcanologist Bruce Houghton, one of the study's leaders, says statisticians hope to give residents living downhill or a volcanic eruption a better idea of their risk.
Houghton says researchers will analyze data from recent and historical lava flows to give residents a better idea of when they need to react.
The study is funded by the National Science Foundation and involves the U.S. Geological Survey, UH-Manoa, University of California-Berkeley, University of Washington, Duke University, Marquette University and University at Buffalo.