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Dive into a digital volcano without melting your face off

GE's immersive digital volcano website takes you into the belly of a fiery beast through the eyes of researchers on a daring expedition.

Masaya's lava lake greeted GE's research expedition.

Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua is a frightening place. The active volcano sports a crater the size of the Empire State Building and houses a lake full of lava. 

A GE science expedition literally dove into Masaya to install sensors and collect data to learn more about conditions in the volcano. You can ride along with these bold researchers through GE's fascinating digital volcano website, which plays out like an interactive documentary.

The site starts at the top with an overview of the project and a sweeping view of the volcano's daunting hellmouth. As you scroll down, you encounter eye-searing views and a lesson in how data can be used to predict future events. You learn about the city of Masaya and its volcano neighbor. You walk along with the researchers as they install a proof-of-concept sensor network around and inside the volcano. 

The sensors survived about 30 days in the extreme conditions and delivered data covering everything from atmospheric pressure to temperature. GE hopes this sort of information can be used to develop early warning systems to protect the millions of people in the world who live in potentially hazardous zones around active volcanoes.   

The expedition took place in the summer of 2016 and the site went live on Tuesday. It lays out a complex story involving drones, heat-resistant suits, GE's Predix platform and the world's first zipline into an active volcano. You set your own pace as you scroll down, and the mix of written information, photographs, graphics and video footage make it as informative as it is exciting.

The digital volcano may be one of the most heart-pounding websites you'll ever see.

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