Margaret Mangan didn’t sleep well in the weeks following the Ridgecrest earthquakes. The July shaking triggered a swarm of smaller tremors in the nearby Coso Volcanic Field, a cluster of lava domes and cinder cones at the northern end of the Mojave Desert. And it was Mangan’s job to watch for a possible eruption.
For several weeks, she personally monitored thousands of quakes via an automated alert system that pinged her phone at all hours. Occasionally, she had to wake a colleague in the middle of the night to make sure the shaking pattern didn’t point to rising magma.