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from the earth’s interior onto the earth’s surface. The term volcano also refers to the mountain built by these materials. Strictly speaking, the volcano is defined in terms of the existence of the vent not the piling up of the material. The volcano becomes active the moment gases start to come out of the vent. Some active vents never discharge anything but gases and thus do not affect the landscape in any significant way. (Figures from GOH) VOLCANISM The movement of hot, liquid rock below and above the crust is called Volcanism. FORMATION OF VOLCANOES Beneath its cool outer crust, the earth is glowing hot. Scientists believe that temperatures inside the earth keep increasing with depth. For every kilometer beneath the surface, the temperature increases about 30oC. The temperature may reach 5,000oC or more at the core. Tremendous heat below the surface causes rock to melt into Magma. Magma is hot liquid rock below the surface. Magma seems to form at 40 to 60 kilometers below the surface. Below that depth great pressures prevent rock from melting. Thus Magma forms in the lower crust and upper mantle. Melting takes place in “Magma Chambers”, areas where heat builds up or pressure is lowered. When solid rock melts into magma, it expands. It also becomes less dense than surrounding rocks. Because of its lower density, magma rises up from the chamber through cracks in solid rock. It forces the cracks to widen. In time, magma breaks through the surface and erupts. When magma reaches the surface, it is released as lava. Volcanoes build up where lava spews up (gushes out) through cracks in the crust. PRODUCTS OF VOLCANOES The complex and variable products of volcanoes include liquids, solids and gases. Usually the gases and molten liquid are mixed together when they leave the vent and separate in the atmosphere. In some cases the gases are mixed with solids. The key process of volcanic activity is the separation and escape of gases from their associated liquids and solids. Volcanic Liquids The liquid material is the most important and is known as the Lava. This is nothing but molten rock and is composed of minerals. Accordingly, as it consists of larger or lesser proportion of Silica, lava is said to be of two types: a. Acid Lava It is light in color and weight, and usually melts at a relatively higher temperature. It is a thick fluid and moves slowly.
Breccia When the solid angular fragments are bigger than finger joints. These gases seldom produce any visible effect on the volcano itself but they get dissipated in the atmosphere and effect the rocks that lie in the neighborhood. From the very shape of this cloud. This cloud consists of several types of gases. Their shapes and sizes depend upon the material that has been thrown out and has gone into their formation. Volcanic Dust The very fine particles thrown out by the volcanoes are known as the volcanic dust. The solid material is derived partly from the cooling of the lava fragments in the air. According to the material that has gone into the formation of a volcanic cone. they are known as Breccia and fall like projectiles. it is known as Cauliflower Cloud. It is gray in color and very light in weight. Ammonium Chloride is also found in sufficient quantity. Invariably all the volcanoes have a conical shape with the crater fixed as a bowl at the apex of the cone. These are as big as finger joints and usually angular in shape. b. they may be said to be of the following three main types: 1. Volcanic Gases Liquid and solid material of volcanoes is usually accompanied with a large amount of gases. this is known as volcanic bomb. partly from the blowing off of the lava crust plugging the crater and partly from the breaking off of the rim of the crater itself. d. A relatively lower temperature is required to melt it and being thinner in texture or more liquid it flows at a faster speed. As soon as the eruption has taken place. Lapilli Small lava fragments that rain on the rim of the volcano are known as the Lapilli or Scoriae (volcanic ash / remains of what is burned) or Pumice Lones. Solid material is only thrown out during explosive eruption. e. Volcanic Solids The dust particles and cinder (ash) fragments constitute the solid material thrown out by the volcanoes. and SO2.b. the chief among them being steam or vapor. Next in importance are the inflammable gases like Hydrogen. Volcanic Bomb Sometimes the lava thrown into the air solidifies into a round mass before falling to the earth. Cinder The solid particles that are smaller than lapille are known as volcanic ash or cinder. Basic or Basaltic Lava It is heavier in weight and darker in color. a dark cloud of smoke rises and mounts above the crater. This solid material is most common when volcanism is explosive and violent. They are like peas. CO2. a. c. TYPES OF VOLCANOES The volcanoes of the earth have different shapes and sizes. Cinder Cones .
The lava is highly fluid and travels far down the low slopes. which may be 2-3 km or more wide and several hundred feet deep. Italy. on ridges. They are built of layers of cinder and ash alternating with layers of lava. steep-sided central depression or sink. The froth breaks up into small fragments which solidify as they are ejected and fall as solid particles near the vent. thence (from there) south into the East Indies. The lava domes are quite common in Germany. The best examples are from Hawaiian Islands. Cinder cones usually occur in groups. and for this reason have been called Strato-Volcanoes by some writers. So loose is the material that it absorbs heavy rain without permitting surface runoff. Many composite volcanoes lie in a great belt. whereas the lava layers provide strength and bulk to the volcano (Strahler 508). are built by repeated out pouring of lava. cinders. Instead of the explosion crater. The Hawaiian Domes range to elevations upto 4. In width they range from 16 to 80 km at sea level and upto 160 km wide at the submerged base. lava domes have a wide.000 m above sea level. They form where a high proportion of gas in the molten rock causes it to froth (fine bubbles) into a bubbly mass and to be ejected from a vent with great violence. Lava domes. [Strahler 508] Cinder cones rarely grow to more than 150 to 300 m in height. the Circum-Pacific Ring. built entirely of the pieces of solidified lava thrown from a central vent.Smallest of the volcanoes are the cinder cones. grew to a height of 120 m in the first week of its existence. Other famous ones. often many dozens in an area of a few tens of square miles. The eruption of large composite volcanoes is usually accompanied by explosive issue of steam. The angle of slope of a recently formed cinder cone ranges between 26o and 30o. Hood in Oregon. Etna and Stromboli in Italy and Sicily. are Vesuvius. is the Lava Dome or Shield Volcano. (Strahler 509) 3. and Shishaldin in the Aleutians. which consist entirely of lava domes. bombs. Central France and the Pacific Ocean Region. Mt. and New Zealand. as the name implies. less perfectly formed. Monte Nuovo. Cinder cones may erupt in almost any conceivable topographical location. into Japan. both from demolition of the upper part and from new accumulation. Heights of several thousand feet and slopes of 20o to 30o are characteristics. ash and by lava flows. through the Cascades and the Aleutians. Lava domes are characterized by gently rising. The steep-sided form is governed by the angle at which the cinder and ash stands. The crater may change form rapidly. which do not usually exceed 4o or 5o. smooth slopes which tend to flatten near the top. Mayon in Philippines. Caldera is the large opening with a flat floor formed due to violent explosion destroying the crater. on slopes. Lava Dome or Shield Volcanoes A very important type of volcano differing greatly in form from other types. Composite Volcanoes Most of the world’s great volcanoes are composite cones. producing a broad-topped volcano. These large depressions are a type of Caldera produced by subsidence (ebb) accompanying the removal of molten lava from beneath. (Gupta 262-263). Growth is rapid. Among the outstanding examples of recently formed Composite Volcanoes are Fujiyama in Japan. and in valleys. extending from the Andes in South America. near Naples. 2. (Strahler 513) TYPES OF VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS According to the force with which the materials are thrown out. Erosion is thus delayed until weathering produces a soil which fills the interstices (cracks). eruptions are said to be of three types: . Explosive behavior and emission of fragments are not important as they are for cinder cones and composite cones. They sometimes show an alignment parallel with fault lines in the underlying rock.
thunder. Wholesale (massive) loss of life and destruction of towns and cities are frequent in the history of peoples who live near active volcanoes. The lava that issued forth through such eruptions spreads over and obliterates (levels) large valleys and mountains. 2. and bombs. Samoa. spread a layer of sandy . Fissure Eruptions These are those eruptions in which lava quietly wells-up through numerous fissures and spreads over large portions of the earth. The surfaces of lava flows and volcanoes remain barren and sterile (infertile) for long periods after their formation. The eruptions took place at selected sites through deep fault planes and round the orifice (outlet) was formed a lava dome. Most volcanic in time produce highly fertile soils that are extensively cultivated. The volcanoes of Hawaii. cinders. In these also. Certain types of lava surface are extremely rough and difficult to traverse (cross). in 1065 AD. there is no violence. Explosive or Central Eruption This type of eruption is characterized by great tremor and violence so that fearful clouds are thrown up in the sky followed by a rain of angular fragments and then the jetting out of the lava. The Deccan region of India and the Snake River Region of USA are typical examples where such eruptions took place. Vesuvius of Italy. and Iceland are of this type. and Fujiyama of Japan are typical examples. 3. At that time the earth’s crust was thin. generated by submerged earth faults. The magma is seething in the channel and then bubbles up like froth (lather) or scum (foam). Tranquil or Effusive Eruptions These are those eruptions that belong to the second stage of the cooling of the earth. Loss occurs principally from sweeping clouds of incandescent (glowing from heat) gases that descend the volcano slopes like great avalanches. (Gupta 262) These represent the third stage in the cooling of the earth. But they are not so important in shaping the relief of the earth. near Flagstaff. it was not possible to break through even marked lines of weakness. Hence magma could easily break through parallel fissures by melting the surface or the crust. from lava flows whose relentless (ruthless) advance engulfs whole cities. Therefore they are known as Vulcanian Eruptions.1. rumbling. the Spaniards who encountered such terrain in the southwestern United States named it Malpais (bad ground). Such grand eruptions that are accompanied with lightening. The bulk effects are also not very significant. Hence the magma and gases go on being accumulated inside till their force becomes so much that they blow off the plug and shoot out with great violence. and from mud flows of volcanic ash saturated by heavy rain. When the crust of the earth became sufficiently thick. Mount Etna of Sicily. It were such eruptions that took place in the early days when the earth was cooling. The eruption of Sunset Crater. The lava comes up and floods the country so that in the course of years the lava may grow to a thickness of several hundred feet. For habitations along low lying coasts. There is no violence in it. The crust had cooled and its outer boundary had become sufficiently thick so that it was not possible for the magma to break thorough at any point. (Strahler 514) Volcanic ash may have remarkably beneficial effect upon the productivity of soil where the ash fall is relatively light. and explosions are very common in Mount Vulcano. ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS OF VOLCANOES Volcanic eruptions count among the earth’s greatest natural disasters. Arizona. from the descent of showers of ash. there is the additional perils (risk) of great seismic sea waves. from violent earthquakes associated with the volcanic activity. Such eruptions cause earthquakes and produce a fearful atmosphere all around.
Eurasian Belt . Rainier. and in many of the groups eruptions still take place. hilly. Mineral resources. As a source of crushed rock for concrete aggregate or railroad ballast. Most of those that are now active lie within certain well defined belts and by far the greater part of the earth has been free from volcanic action since man appeared upon its surface. in the Sandwich Islands. and on the other hand there is no sign of recent folding in Iceland. it is upon the borders of the Pacific that volcanic activity reaches its maximum development. Formosa [Atlas 30-Q7]. and other engineering purposes. 2. while towards the east it is continued.volcanic ash over the barren reddish soil of the surrounding region and caused it to become highly productive because of the moisture-conserving effect of the ash. There are. the New Hebrides [Atlas 40-H7]. Thus the San Francisco Mountains. the ancient lava layers that make up the Watchung Ridges of Northern New Jersey have in places been virtually leveled in quarrying operations continued over several decades. Mt. rocky) mountains of other types. the Tonga Islands. DISTRIBUTION OF VOLCANOES Volcanoes are not scattered irregularly over the globe. Another belt of volcanic activity runs through Sumatra. The islands in the midst of the Pacific are all either volcanic or made of coral. are conspicuously lacking in volcanoes and lava flows. As scenic features of great beauty. no volcanoes in the Himalayas. Kamchatka [Atlas 30-T4]. and the Philippines to the Molucca Group [Atlas 31-R10]. The Fiji Islands are an example of a group which is of volcanic origin. Java and the Sunda Islands. the Solomon Islands [Atlas 40-F6]. attracting a heavy tourist trade. and Crater Lake in the Cascade Range. few landforms outrank volcanoes. The famed Kimberlite Rock of South Africa. At the present day. Mt. These belts coincide to a large extent with the belts of crumpling (wrinkle). the Kuril Islands [Atlas 30-S6]. there are many which have not been long extinct. through New Guinea [Atlas 40E6]. The gas-bubble cavities in some ancient lava have become filled with copper or other ores. the Philippines. source of diamonds is the pipe of an ancient volcano. In the United States and Canada. Indonesia and New Zealand. [Atlas 30] generally Barren Island in the Andaman and some extinct volcanoes in Burma mark the northwesterly termination of the belt. Circum Pacific Ring This belt consists of the western coasts of the Americas. Lassen. with several interruptions. Young and mature volcanoes possess most of the natural resources of rugged (irregular. National parks have been made of Mt. there are a few active vents. Vesuvius and Fujiyama also attract many visitors. The chief volcanoes of the world are found in following belts: 1. and New Zealand to Mount Erebus on the Antarctic Continent. unless later geologic events have resulted in the injection or diffusion of ore minerals into the volcanic rocks. which have formed the great mountain ranges of the present day. Japan. but in which volcanic action has now ceased. Thus. Living volcanoes reappear in Alaska and the line is continued through the Aleutian Islands. There are active volcanoes. a group of maturely dissected volcanoes in Northern Arizona. Steep slopes prevent extensive agriculture. are clothed in what is perhaps the finest known Western Yellow Pine Forest (ponderosa pine). for instance. but in the ranges of the west. particularly the metallic ores. for instance. Japan. lava rock is often extensively used. but the coincidence is not complete. the Kuerile Islands. which acted as a mulch (moisture trapping sheet) in the semi-arid climate. although providing valuable timber resources. A line of great volcanoes may be traced up the Andes and through Central America and Mexico. and the Samoa Group [Atlas 40-J7].
Stromboli (lava dome. In the Cameroon there was an eruption in 1909. pipe type crater). In Reunion Island (France) the Piton de la Foumaise is still frequently in eruption. Cape Verde Islands [Atlas 36-B4]. The great belt of folding which runs from west to east across Europe and Asia is also associated with volcanic activity. there are numerous volcanoes of gigantic size. 3. and Vulcano (lava dome. In Italy and the neighboring islands Vesuvius.This belt consists of Italy and the eastern Mediterranean Region. Africa In Africa there are a few volcanic centers. Ararat [Atlas 30-H5]. which extends from Jordan down the Red Sea and through the east of Africa. It spreads through Caucasia. These volcanic landforms include: Volcanic Plains and Volcanic Plateaus Flat sheets of extrusive igneous rocks are called volcanic plains and volcanic plateaus. and the Islands of Eastern Atlantic from Iceland to St. Elburz [Atlas 30-J6] and Kazbek in the Caucasus and Demavend [Atlas 22-J6] in south of the Caspian are also old volcanoes. but they are either extinct or in the solfatara stage. Atlantic Belt This belt consists of West Indies. funnel type crater) [Atlas 22-F4. for example. Persia. Afghanistan and Baluchistan meet. However. A small cone south of Lake Rudolf has recently been in eruption and also one or two south of Lake Nyanza.5] are still active. Iceland is the last surviving remnant of a great volcanic area which in earlier times extended from Greenland to the north of Iceland. Indeed. Helena [Atlas 36C7] which are all of volcanic origin. VOLCANIC LANDFORMS Introduction The popular concept of a volcano is a conical mountain with a circular base and a pointed top. In the region where the boundaries of Iran. These features are formed from extremely fluid shape mafic lava (consisting of silicates rich in iron and magnesium) and or . occurs in the West Indies. The Grand Comoro Islands [Atlas 36H7] has been active several times since the island were discovered. Burma and finally terminates in the East Indies or Indonesia [Atlas 30-H5 to P]. volcanoes build a variety of landforms. Kenya and Kilimanjaro [Atlas 36-G6] are volcanoes. There are many volcanic cones in Madagascar. The Azores [Atlas 36-A2]. Indian Ocean Mauritius and man other islands in the Indian Ocean are volcanic but now extinct. Armenia. A considerable number of volcanoes lie in or near the great Rift Valley in Uganda [Atlas 36-G6]. In the time of Humboldt. active volcanoes were said to exist in the great mountain chains of Central Asia. Kenya. and Canary Islands [Atlas 36-B3] are all volcanic. Etna. Santoria in the Greciah Archipelago has been the scene of many out bursts. Far to the south of Kerguelen Island there are still signs of activity. Farther east. 5. depending upon the nature of the products and how they accumulate. but the volcanoes for the most part are now extinct. also associated with recent folding of the earth’s crust. many volcanoes have built features matching this image. and many other mountains in Armenia and Asia Minor are volcanic. Baluchistan. 4. Madeira [Atlas 36-A2]. where the Lesser Antilles [Atlas 18-D1] are largely volcanic. there are several cones of considerable size and one or two of them emit steam and other gases. A shorter line of volcanoes.
but it may be reached in as short a time as a few weeks. Tephra flows have been clocked at speeds of 30 to 100 km/hr. tephra flows behave as if they were very fluid. Thus. This height is usually attained over a period of several months. The angle of the sloping sides of nearly every tephra cone in the world is about 30o. Tephra cones rarely are higher than about 450m. the volume of extrusive igneous rock underlying a volcanic plain or a volcanic plateau can reach 400. Welded spatter may form walls that are nearly vertical. (Strahler 514) Volcanic Cones The most familiar of volcanic landforms are volcanic cones. they formed on the earth’s surface through fissures eruptions. gently sloping conical mound of volcanic rock. The difference between a volcanic plain and a volcanic plateau is the height of the surface compared to the surrounding countryside. A volcanic plain or volcanic plateau can cover more than 250. If their lava issued from fissures. A volcanic plain is a low-lying area in which the volcanic rocks usually are thin. . a spatter cone looks as though it were built by someone standing in a deep hole and hurling blobs of wet cement up onto the ground. The hot droplets of spatter tend to stick to one another and become welded together. hot blebs (pockets) and clots (lumps) of lava form a gas-and-particle mixture known as a Tephra Flow. that they melt together as they settle forming rock known as Welded Tuff. the continuity of the liquid phase is disrupted by the violently escaping gases. Volcanic plains and volcanic plateaus are usually regional in extent. the flows char (burn) trees and wooden buildings and may even melt glass and metals. Spatter Cones Eruptions of small clots of liquid lava (spatter/splash) may build small. fell back as solids. steep sided spatter cones. This yields a structure that is more rigid than a tephra cone. As a result. A volcanic plateau is a high standing area usually built by the accumulation of thick sheets of extrusive igneous rocks. Tephra flows tend to build up flat-lying layers of particles that may be still so hot. several varieties are recognized depending on the materials composing them: Tephra Cones These consist of fine grained. Volcanic Shields Repeated. and were piled up surrounding the vent.000 cubic kilometers. Welded Tuff In many eruptions of felsic lava (silicates consisting of quartz and the feldspar). the thickness of the layers of extrusive rock may reach about a kilometer. usually uniformly sized tephra that were ejected from a circular volcanic vent. Because of their resemblance to the shields of ancient warriors. Rarely exceeding 30 m in height. when deposited. fast-moving lava flows. the largest examples are the Hawaiian Islands and other Mid Pacific Islands. quiet eruptions of highly fluid mafic lava from a circular vent or from a rift zone may create a broad. In many ways.from mixtures of particles dispersed in volcanic gases that were highly mobile and flowed with great speed as if they were liquid. After thousands of individual eruptions. The temperatures within hot tephra flows may exceed 1000oC.000 square kilometers. Although the term volcanic shields was first applied to examples in Iceland. They can spread many kilometers from their vents. these features have been named volcanic shields.
Eventually. generated by the explosion killed many thousands of persons living on low coastal areas of Java and Sumatra.5 km is a Crater. Composite Volcanic Cones These are combinations of complex cones built atop volcanic shields. or tsunamis. Many craters are situated at the apexes of volcanic cones. secondary cones may form and destroy the symmetry. Craters are active during most eruptive cycles. Vesuvius in Italy. The tephra cone could be the beginning stage in the construction of a composite cone. Aso. exploded in 1883. whereas most of the mass subsides into the ground beneath the volcano. such as Fuji in Japan. A caldera of Pleistocene age. the result would be a composite cone. Africa. Calderas (Strahler 509) One of the most catastrophic of natural phenomenon is a volcanic explosion so violent as to destroy the entire central portion of the volcano. the cone’s sides may be so strengthened by the sheets of igneous rock that it is possible for lava to rise to the top of the cone and to issue forth as summit eruptions. its floor lies 600 meters lower than its rim. Another large caldera is Morogoro in Tanzania. If the tephra cones were eventually reinforced to become a large complex cone and if layers of highly fluid lava issuing at the base accumulated to great thickness and formed a volcanic shield. Japan. The world’s largest modern caldera is at Mt. It is opened up by a concentrated jet of hot gases escaping upward through bedrock. measuring 68 by 45 diameters. Great seismic sea waves. Crater A circular volcanic orifice having a diameter less than 1. A caldera formed on an oceanic island may create an enclosed circular body of water that could be used as a harbor for ships. leaving a great caldera. Rainier in Washington. Great conical peaks. Reply With Quote . which is 18 by 16 kilometers. and Shasta in California. Krakatoa. In these cones. Mayon in the Philippines. If a second vent becomes activated or if flank eruptions should accumulate. it measures 16 by 22 kilometers. termed a Caldera. The secret of such symmetry is eruption through a single central vent. There remains only a great central depression. A portion of the upper part of the volcano is blown outward in fragments. lava from the central vent pushes outward through the sides of the cones as flank eruptions. has been identified at Yellowstone National Park. all famed for their beauty and symmetry. a volcanic Indonesia. are composite volcanic cones. such craters may enlarge as a result of explosive eruptions or as a result of collapse following the withdrawal of lava from the cone. It is estimated that 75 km3 of rock disappeared during the explosion. Calderas differ from crater not only in size but also in their relationship to the life histories of volcanoes.Complex Volcanic Cones These are composed of sloping layers of tephra and reinforcing layer of extrusive igneous rock.
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