Science: A Sample of Inferno

Volcanologists like to analyze the lava of new volcanoes, but getting the lava samples can be a sticky business. Last week two scientific adventurers from San Diego, Adrian Richards and Lewis Walker, told about their dangerous visit to El Boquerón (Big Mouth), the new volcano on tiny San Benedicto Island off the west coast of Mexico. They were the first to set foot on the still-smoking cone.

When they started for the volcano on board the research yacht Observer, they had been told that its activity was dying down. This report, they found, was premature. A great hole had opened in...

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