77 Exciting Facts About Active Volcanoes For Kids To Learn | Kidadl


77 Exciting Facts About Active Volcanoes For Kids To Learn

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Aren't Volcanoes so fascinating?

These dangerous mountains of pent-up energy have caused so much destruction over the years, but the science behind them is pretty interesting. For example, did you know that some volcanoes can take thousands of years to form, while others may spring up seemingly overnight due to a huge pressure build-up under the surface?

Which is the largest volcano on Earth? What are the different types of volcanoes? How are they formed? Many more questions about volcanoes are bound to catch your curiosity. Let us discover answers to these questions and check out many more interesting details in our active volcanoes fact file. Read on for an explosion of knowledge!

Fun Facts About Active Volcanoes

A volcano is best described as a mountain that slopes downward to reveal a pool of molten rock beneath the Earth's surface. Curious about how these active volcanoes work? Read below for some delightful fun facts.

  • Volcanoes erupt due to a build-up of pressure underneath the surface, which leads to an explosion that can scatter lava, ash, and rock debris over the surrounding area.
  • Volcanoes form from rising magma. Large rock chunks, known as tectonic plates, make up the crust of our planet.
  • Magma is produced when two tectonic plates on Earth collide due to friction caused by the movement of the plates.
  • As a result, a volcano is created as the hot magma approaches the Earth's surface.
  • As we know, volcanoes frequently occur where tectonic plates are convergent or divergent, and many are submerged.
  • These form underwater vents, which are commonly referred to as submarine volcanoes. They can erupt magma like a typical volcano.
  • Earth is estimated to be home to more than a million of these undersea volcanoes. They are believed to be common along the mid-Atlantic ridge, which runs along the ocean's floor.
  • During an eruption, rock and gas fly up through the cracks and fill the air with lava shards or spill over.
  • Lava flows, hot ash flows, mudslides, avalanches, falling ash, and floods are all potential consequences of eruptions.
  • Active volcanoes can spew debris up to a 20 mi (32 km) radius, known as the volcano's danger zone.
  • It is recommended not to build any settlements near an active volcano, as they will ultimately get destroyed and prove to be fatal for inhabitants.
  • The highest temperature ever measured on Earth is 134 F (56.7 C). To put it in perspective, the maximum temperature of volcanic lava is 2282 F (1250 C).
  • Fresh volcanic ash, composed of crushed rock, can be abrasive, acidic, grainy, glassy, and odoriferous.
  • Older adults, infants, and those with respiratory issues who breathe in the ash may experience lung disease and even failure.
  • Volcanic lightning, caused by the friction of the ash racing to the surface after an eruption, typically occurs within the ash cloud.
  • These lightning phenomena can be difficult to spot due to the massive dark ash clouds, but there have been eye-witness reports.
  • Indonesia is one of the most deadly volcano hotspots in the world, with 76 active volcanoes spread across its many islands.
  • Eruptions over the years have claimed thousands of lives, directly through ash flows and flying debris and indirectly by the tsunamis caused in the aftermath.
  • The destruction of property and agricultural areas has even led to mass starvation.
  • The Ring of Fire, known to surround the Pacific Ocean, hosts more than half of the world's active volcanoes.
  • Tsunamis, flash floods, earthquakes, mudflows, and rockfalls can all be brought on by an erupting volcano.
  • The origin of more than 80% of the Earth's surface is volcanic. Numerous volcanic explosions have contributed to the formation of the sea floor and many mountains.
  • These were formed by overflowing lava from the volcanoes, which have since cooled down to form solid rock. Even our atmosphere was produced by volcanic gas eruptions.
  • The majority of the country's active volcanoes are located in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington.
  • However, Hawaii and Alaska have the highest risk of volcanic eruptions occurring close to densely populated areas.
  • Volcano eruptions can greatly vary. They can make a subtle hissing or the signature loud booming sound.
  • However, the loud booming explosions are the most destructive of the two, as they can be heard for hundreds of miles, with the sound waves even being able to shatter glass.

Current Active Volcanoes In The World

There are over 1350 estimated active volcanoes present all over the world. Check out this list of the most famous (and deadliest) of these eruptive spectacles of nature.

  • Europe's biggest and most active volcano is Mt. Etna in Sicily. Large lava flows are a common component of frequent eruptions. However, they rarely endanger populated areas.
  • One of the world's most active volcanoes, Stromboli is situated on a little island north of Sicily and is known for its incandescent lava flows and frequent eruptions.
  • Pacaya in Guatemala, which has been continually active for ages, is known for its violent eruptions and continuous lava flow.
  • The Fagradalsfjall mountain in the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland, erupted in March 2021.
  • This eruption was notably the first time this region had ever had an eruption after a significant earthquake crisis.
  • The Fuego volcano in Central America frequently produces tall ash clouds and amazing, strong lava fountains that are a sight to behold.
  • Since it was initially found in the '60s, Erta Ale has been famous for its perennial lava lake, which has been active for the past several decades. It is located in the Danakil depression, Ethiopia.
  • Masaya in Nicaragua is a volcano that is very active in Nicaragua. A lake created by its lava flows covers much of the surrounding area.
  • Santiaguito in Guatemala is the tallest in a string of enormous volcanoes that tower spectacularly over Guatemala's Pacific coastal plain.
  • Much of Southwest Guatemala was tragically devastated by an eruption from Santiaguito in 1902.
  • Popocatépetl is known as one of the most active volcanoes in Mexico. Large eruptions in the past have caused enormous mudflows that, according to historians, have buried Atzteque towns and even complete pyramids.
  • In fact, the most recent eruption was from March 30 to April 5, 2022. It is considered to be the second-highest volcanic mountain in North America.
  • An interesting fact is that Volcán Popocatépetl is an Aztec term for smoking mountain.
  • Vincent's Soufrière in West Indies, St. Vincent, frequently erupts explosively and is the youngest volcano on St. Vincent Island. A significant eruption from St. Vincents occurred in 1902, which along with the horrifying Mont Pelée explosion on Martinique, devastated a large portion of the island's northern region.
  • The Big Island of Hawaii, sometimes locally known as Hawai'i, is home to Kilauea, the youngest and most dynamic Hawaiian shield volcano. The largest and most southern of the chain of islands, Hawai'i, exists mostly due to the activity of this Hawaiian hot spot.
  • Taal, the smallest active volcano, has also been called one of the most beautiful volcanoes present in the world, and it looks straight out of a fantasy movie.
  • However, Taal is also one of the most destructive and has claimed over 1500 lives over six deadly eruptions. Tsunamis are also a common occurrence in its crater lake.
  • Near Lake Kivu, on the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, is one of the most stunning and active volcanoes in the world. Nyiragongo is located in Virunga National Park.
  • One of the most interesting things about the Nyiragongo volcano is that it features the biggest lava lake on Earth.
  • Ojos del Salado is an active composite volcano situated in the Andes on the border of Chile and Argentina.
  • At 22,615 ft (6893 m), Ojos del Salado is the highest active volcano on Earth above sea level. It is a popular hiking spot, and many mountaineers attempt to scale this volcano yearly.
  • Though the Ojos de Salado is the tallest volcano above sea level, the honor of the largest active volcano goes to Mount Mauna Loa, which stands at 13677.82 ft (4,169 m) tall.
  • Though Mauna Kea (the tallest volcano in Hawaii) is higher at 13802.49 ft (4207 m), it is a dormant volcano.
  • Mauna Loa recently erupted on November 27, 2022. It erupted for the first time in about 38 years. The last eruption was on March 1984, which lasted about 22 days.
  • The island country Indonesia is known for having the largest number of active volcanoes in the world.
  • Indonesia is made up of over 13,000 islands with constantly erupting volcanoes like Dukono, Semeru, Lewotolo, Sinabung, Kerinci, Bromo, and Krakatau, which are spread over Java, Sumatra, the Lesser Sunda Islands, and Halmahera.
  • Mount Sakurajima is a volcano that has been observed to be brewing with continuous activity. In fact, small to medium ash explosions can be observed occurring every 4-24 hours. It is extremely dangerous and is continuously monitored for destructive activity.
  • Did you know that Mount Fuji, Japan's iconic snowy mountain, is also a volcano? However, it is a dormant volcano.
  • Though Antarctica is covered in ice, you would be surprised to learn that it is the home of one of the most ferocious volcanoes in the world! Mount Erebus, named after a terrifying, inhospitable region in the Greek underworld, is known for its humongous lava lake.
Reventador Volcano erupting

Characteristics of Active Volcanoes

There are three main classifications of volcanoes, mainly called active, dormant, and extinct. Read about these classifications and the main characteristics of an active volcano below.

  • Active volcanoes are those volcanoes that show continuous volcanic activity or have recently erupted, hence cannot be ruled out from erupting again in the future.
  • Volcanoes that are dormant have not erupted in a very long time. However, they could yet do so in the future.
  • It seems unlikely that extinct volcanoes will erupt in the near future, as there is no volcanic activity observed, and their lava reserves have run dry or solidified into stone.
  • A volcano that hasn't erupted in at least 10,000 years can be classified as an extinct volcano.
  • Magma, or molten rock, accumulates in special magma chambers inside an active volcano.
  • The magma escapes onto the surface of the planet through channels in the rock as a result of pressure building up inside the magma chamber. Once it releases onto the surface, it is known as lava.
  • Volcanic explosions also give off many gases, including water vapor, carbon dioxide, hydrogen chloride, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen fluoride. The latter can be poisonous and cause air pollution if emitted in large amounts.
  • Both the surface of the Earth and, surprisingly, the ocean bed are home to active volcanoes.
  • When volcanoes erupt on the ocean floor, the lava that is produced cools and solidifies to form underwater mountains and mountain ranges.
  • Islands are formed as a result of volcanoes present on the ocean floor growing to such a size that they rise above the water.

Types of Active Volcanoes

There are four main types of active volcanoes. Read more about them below.

  • Shield volcanoes have long, gradual slopes created by basaltic lava flows and are fashioned like a bowl or shield in the middle.
  • These are created when low-viscosity lava that may travel far from a vent erupts. In most cases, they don't erupt violently but gently spew lava.
  • Shield volcanoes tend to occur more frequently in oceanic than in continental environments because low-viscosity magma typically contains little silica.
  • Shield cones, which are also frequent in Iceland, make up the Hawaiian volcanic chain. The highest volcano in the world, Mauna Kea, and the highest active volcano, Mauna Loa, are both shield volcanoes.
  • Cinder cones are round or oval structures created by the explosion of tiny lava pieces from a single vent.
  • Cinder cones are produced by the eruptions of mostly tiny fragments of scoria and pyroclastics that accumulate around the vent. Most cinder cones only explode once. Cinder cones can develop independently or as flank vents on bigger volcanoes.
  • Composite volcanoes are steeply sloping volcanoes that are built up of numerous layers of volcanic rocks, typically from high-viscosity lava, ash, and rock fragments.
  • These kinds of volcanoes are towering conical mountains made of lava flows and other debris arranged in alternating layers.
  • Lava domes are created when erupting lava builds up close to the volcanic vent and becomes too thick to flow, forming a steep-sided mound.
  • They are created by the gradual eruption of very viscous lava. Sometimes they develop inside the crater of an earlier volcanic eruption.
  • They have the same explosive, violent eruption potential as composite volcanoes, although the lava usually does not spread very far from the vent.
Written By
Tanya Parkhi

<p>Tanya is a skilled content creator with a passion for writing and a love for exploring new cultures. With a degree in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune, India, Tanya worked on her writing skills by contributing to various editorials and publications. She has experience writing blogs, articles, and essays, covering a range of topics. Tanya's writing reflects her interest in travel and exploring local traditions. Her articles showcase her ability to engage readers and keep them interested.</p>

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