A previously dormant South American volcano is inflating with astonishing speed, scientists have discovered.
Researchers from several U.S. universities say Uturuncu, which rises 6,000 meters in southwest Bolivia, is blowing up like a big balloon as its magma chamber grows around 10 times faster than normal.
'It's one of the fastest uplifting volcanic areas on Earth,' said Oregon State University professor, Shan de Silva.
Waking up: Uturuncu, which rises 6,000 meters in southwest Bolivia, is blowing up like a big balloon, according to scientists
'What we're trying to do is understand why there is this rapid inflation, and from there we'll try to understand what it's going to lead to,' said de Silva in an interview with MyAmazingPlanet.
Uturuncu is classed as a 'stratovolcano' - the most common type. But there is some concern that its rapid growth could indicate that a supervolcano is on its way.
A supervolcano erupts with such power that it can shoot out 1,000 times more material than a stratovolcano like Uturuncu or Mount St Helens in Washington. It can also have a devastating global effect.