33 Captivating Volcano Eruption Facts Revealed For Kids | Kidadl


33 Captivating Volcano Eruption Facts Revealed For Kids

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Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

The escape of volcanic ash, hot lava, and gases from a magma chamber is called a volcanic eruption.

The Kilauea Volcano of Hawaii is an example of a volcano that has been erupting constantly for more than 29 years. Kilauea Volcano is a shield volcano, which is a type of volcano named for its low profile, which is thought to resemble to shield of an ancient warrior.

Volcanoes are primarily classified as active volcanoes, dormant volcanoes, or extinct volcanoes. An active volcano has exhibited activity in the past 10,000 years. A dormant volcano has not erupted in the last 10,000 years but has the probability to erupt again. However, an extinct volcano is inactive and there are no chances of them being active again. But, there are in fact some rare cases of extinct volcanoes being reclassified as dormant.

Formation Of Volcanoes

The oldest documented active volcano is Mount Etna on the Italian island of Sicily, which is thought to be about 350,000 years old. Even after so many years, there are still active volcanoes both on the surface of the Earth as well as under the ocean. Read on to find out how volcanoes have formed?

Planet Earth, classified as a rocky planet, has three layers known as the crust, mantle, and core. The core is found right at the center of the planet and it is unimaginably hot. The next layer, below the Earth's crust is the mantle. The mantle contains magma, which is hot liquified rocks and minerals. This magma can push through cracks in the Earth's crust and cause volcanic eruptions.

Most active volcanoes are located near the boundaries of the tectonic plates of the Earth's crust, where the tectonic plates collide, slide past each other, or move apart.

When the tectonic plates move away from each other it creates a crack or rift zone. To fill this rift or crack mantle move upwards creating low pressure and thus it forms magma.

Most Common Types Of Volcano

The mechanism of volcanic eruptions revolves around magma discharging through any vent or opening in the Earth's crust, both on land and under the sea.

Composite volcanoes are a form of volcano that tend to have violent eruptions. Composite volcanoes are found where the ocean crust sinks below the continental crust. The eruptions are quite explosive, however, the hot lava that is generated tends to be very sticky or viscous and doesn't flow far before it solidifies. Thus composite volcanoes tend to have steep sides.

Some examples of composite volcanoes are Mount Shasta, Mount Pinatubo, Mount Rainer, and Mount St. Helens.

Another form of volcano is the shield volcano. These are humongous volcanoes that do not tend to be very steep-sided. The lava spewing from shield volcanoes tend to flow effortlessly and travel much further before it solidifies, thus creating the low profile thought to be a shield-like shape.

Mauna Loa in Hawaii is an example of a shield volcano. Although Mount Everest is considered the tallest mountain in the world if measured from sea level, Mauna Loa is even taller if measured from the ocean floor.

A very small type of volcano, that primarily has 984 ft (300 m) height and steep sides with cone or cinder shape is the cinder cone volcano. These are common types of volcanoes.

One of the most extremely rare phenomena of volcanic activity would be the supervolcanoes. These volcanoes can have an eruption that has 240 cu mi (1,000 cu km) of material.

Characteristics Of Volcano Eruptions

The type of volcanic activity and eruption may vary, here is the list of characteristics of different types of volcano eruptions.

When the molten rock reaches the Earth’s surface or mountain top after the eruption it is called lava, but while inside it is known as magma.

Lava eruptions can occur in three main ways. These are known as lava flows, lava fountains, or lava domes.

A small eruption is caused by heat in a hydrothermal system that is encircled by rocks and produces ash, however, magma or larva is not involved. This is called hydrothermal eruption.

When heat from magma interacts with water it triggers an eruption which can produce volcanic ash but not magma, this is known as Phreatic eruption.

When an eruption occurs on interacting water with either magma or lava it becomes extremely explosive. This is known as phreatomagmatic eruptions.

The least violent type of eruption are the Hawaiian and Strombolian eruptions.

Volcanic eruptions that last from seconds to a few minutes and cause small to moderate explosion are called Vulcanian eruptions.

When a high amount of manga is discharged and it stays for minutes to a few hours, it is known as a Plinian or Subplinian eruption.

Reasons For Volcano Eruptions

Have you ever wondered what causes volcanic eruptions? If so then here are some reasons why volcanoes erupt.

The core is the hottest part of the Earth, and sometimes the temperature is so high that it melts rocks slowly, this liquified state of rock is called magma.

Hot magma is lighter than solid rock, therefore it gets collected inside the magma chamber.

A volcano is primarily the vent or opening in the Earth's crust through which dissolved gases and magma escape.

Several factors trigger an eruption, however, three primary reasons are the pressure of the gases, buoyancy of magma, and movement of new magma into old magma chambers.

The magma rises to the Earth's surface due to buoyancy and can explode through cracks and vents.

Magma is comprised of dissolved volatiles such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and water. When magma rises towards the surface the water solubility in magma starts decreasing, causing an increase in the pressure of the magma.

Not all volcanic eruptions are explosive in nature.

Besides carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, other volcanic gases like hydrogen fluoride and hydrogen chloride are also released which are poisonous.

The term volcano is taken from the Aeolian Island, 'vulcano' whose name is derived from 'Vulcan' the God of fire in Roman mythology.

Did You Know

You may already know a lot about volcanic eruptions, but did you know these facts?

There are approximately 1500 active volcanoes present in the world.

The majority of the World's active volcanoes are situated in the region that surrounds the Pacific Ocean. This region is known as the ‘Ring of Fire’.

In the United States, most of the active volcanoes can be located in the region of Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and California.

There are no active volcanoes in the United Kingdom.

Mantle begins from 1,802 mi (2,900 km) beneath the surface and continues till the core. The temperature of this region is so high that molten rock can gush out and form big bubbles of liquified rock.

Earth’s largest volcano is located in Hawaii which is known as Mauna Loa. This volcano is 13677 ft (4169 m) high above the surface and 16404 ft (5,000 m) below the sea. Mauna Loa has exploded almost 33 times.

When Mount St. Helen's erupted, the explosion released such extreme amounts of gas, steam, rock, and hot ash that it pruned down trees within an area of 15 mi (24 km).

It is assumed that there can be almost 10,000 underwater volcanoes.

The tallest volcano in our solar system is surprisingly not on Earth, but it is on Mars.

The biggest volcanic eruption on Earth that has been documented was the eruption of Mount Tambora, situated in the Sumbawa Island of Indonesia. The eruption happened in 1815.

The Italian town of Pompeii was annihilated in 79 A.D by the volcano Mount Vesuvius.


What are the effects of a large volcanic eruption?

The effects of a large volcanic eruption include:

Respiratory problems as well as eyes and skin problems.

Water supply and waste disposal issue.

The collapse of buildings, destruction of town, forest fire and destruction of natural habitat.

Burns and other injuries to animals and human beings.

A volcanic eruption can cause thunder, rain, and lightning.

What are the three main causes of volcanic eruptions?

Three main causes of volcanic eruptions are:

Low pressure in the mantle

Lightweight magma

Mixing of new magma with old magma in the magma chamber.

What does the inside of a volcano look like?

The magma chamber is a large pool of semi-liquified or liquified rock.

How do volcanoes build land?

The lava that has been erupted or the magma that is formed inside crystalizes and forms new rock. Sometimes this lava is augmented on the coast or if it erupts beneath water new lands are formed.

What is Volcanicity?

Volcanicity refers to the state or quality of the volcanic activity.

How do volcanoes cause floods?

The hot lava or ash released during an eruption can melt ice at the summit of mountains causing a flood.

How does lava form in a volcano?

Due to low pressure on the surface of the mantle.

How many volcanoes erupted in 2020?

There were nearly 73 confirmed cases of eruption.

How hot is lava?

The lava flow is approximately 1292-2,282° F ( 700-1250° C).

What was the last supervolcano to erupt?

Taupo, which is situated on the north island of New Zealand almost 27,000 years ago.

Did Yellowstone ever erupt?

The last time Yellowstone erupted was 70,000 years ago.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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