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What is a
A volcano is a vent or
'chimney' that connects
molten rock (magma) from cone
within the Earths crust to
the Earth's surface.
A volcano is a mountain
where lava (hot, liquid rock)
comes from a magma
chamber under the ground.
A volcano usually has a
summit, a slope and base.
Most volcanoes have a
volcanic crater at the top.
When they are active,
materials pour out of it.
This includes lava, steam,
gaseous compounds of
sulphur, ash and broken
rock pieces.



How are they formed?

When tectonic plates collide and go
through the process of subduction, it
sets the foundation from a volcano.
The overlapping of the tectonic
plates causes the magma to break
through the crust, which is the cause
of a volcanoes birth.


Shield Volcano are built out
of layers of lave from
continual eruptions ( without
explosions) because the lava
is so fluid, it spreads out,
often a wide area. Shield
volcanoes do not grow to a
great height, and the layers
of lava spread out to give the
volcano gently sloping sides.
Shield volcanoes can
produce huge areas of
basalt, which is usually what
lava is when cooled.
The internal structure of a typical shield volcano


A stratovolcano also
known as a composite
volcano is a tall and
conical volcano. It is
built up of many layers
of hardened lava,
tephra, pumice, and
volcanic ash.

Schematic representation of the

internal structure of a typical composite

Pyroclastic Cones also
known as cinder cones.
Cinder cones are the
simplest type of
volcano. They are built
from particles and blobs
of congealed lava
ejected from a single
vent. Most cinder cones
have a bowlshapedcraterat the
summit and rarely rise
more than a thousand
feet or so above their
Schematic representation of the
internal structure of a typical cinder

Lava Domes
Volcanic or lava domes
are formed by relatively
small, bulbous masses
of lava too viscous to
flow any great distance;
consequently, on
extrusion, the lava piles
over and around its
vent. A dome grows
largely by expansion
from within. As it grows
its outer surface cools
and hardens, then
shatters, spilling loose
fragments down its
Schematic representation of the internal
structure of a typical volcanic dome.

How and why do volcanoes erupt?

Hot, molten rock (magma) is buoyant (has a lower density than
the surrounding rocks) and will rise up through the crust to
erupt on the surface.
Same principle as hot air rising, e.g. how a hot air balloon
When magma reaches the surface it depends on how easily it
flows (viscosity) and the amount of gas (H 2O, CO2, S) it has in it
as to how it erupts.
Large amounts of gas and a high viscosity (sticky) magma will
form an explosive eruption!
Think about shaking a carbonated drink and then releasing the
Small amounts of gas and (or) low viscosity (runny) magma
will form an effusive eruption


Classifications of Volcanoes
A traditional way to classify or identify volcanoes by its pattern
of eruptions.
Active volcanoes:erupted within historical times (within the
last 600 years), accounts of these eruptions were documented
by man; erupted within the last 10,000 years based on
analyses of datable materials.
Potentially active volcanoes:morphologically younglooking but with no historical records of eruption.
Inactive volcanoes:no record of eruptions; physical form is
being changed by agents of weathering and erosion via
formation of deep and long gullies.

Active Volcano


Phrearic or

Is a stream-driven
eruption, as the hot
rocks come in contact
with water. It is short
live characterized by
ash columns but may be
an onset for a larger


Is a violent eruption due

to the contact between
water and magma. As a
result, a large column of
very fine ash, high
speed and side-way
emission of phyroclatics
called based surges are


A periodic weak to
violent eruption
characterized by
fountain lava.


Characterized by tall
eruption columns that
reach up to 20 km high
with pyroclastic flow
and ash fall tephra.


Excessively explosive
type of eruption of gas
and pyroclastics.


Lava Flow
Lava Flow is a highly elongated mass of
molten rock materials cascading down slope
from an erupting vent. The lava flow being
extruded has low silica and low water
Rate of flow: 3 km/day (slightly high viscosity)
or 45 km/hour (low viscosity). Speed and
geometry of lava flows depend on local
topography. Steep slopes encourage faster
and longer flows than gentle slopes or terrain.

Dome Growth
Lava dome is a pile or mound of lava that grew
on the floor of an active crater, on the side
slopes via a feeder vent that breached through
the surface of the edifice, or inside the volcanic

Types of Dome Growth:

Exodomes - lava domes that were formed on the
surface of the volcanic edifice)
Cryptodomes - lava domes that grew anywhere
inside the edifice.

Pyroclatic Flow

Pyroclastic flow refers to hot dry masses of fragmented

volcanic materials that move along the slope and in contact
with ground surface. This includes: pumice flow, ash flow,
block-and-ash flow, nuee ardente and glowing avalanche.

Pyroclastic flow mechanism:
1. high gas content rapid flow down the slope of an
erupting volcano enormous amounts of ash and other
fragmental volcanic materials. A nuee ardente may
originate directly from an active crater or from a
collapse of a growing lava dome.

Pyroclastic Surge
Pyroclastic surges are turbulent low-concentration
density currents of gases, rock debris and in some
cases, water, that move above the ground
surface at high velocities.
Types of Pyroclastic Surge:
Ground surge, Ash-cloud surge, Base surge

Hot Blast
Hot blasts arise when pent-up gases facilitate their
way out through the impermeable overlying
materials and cause a very rapid escape into the
atmosphere. Blasts that are directed obliquely often
do much damage and could exact a high toll in
human lives.
Lateral blasts are combination of pyroclastic flows
and pyroclastic surges with an especially strong
initial laterally-directed thrust. They have an initial
velocity of 600 kph and slow down to about 100 kph
near its margin 25 km from the volcano.

Tephra Falls
Tephra falls may consist of pumice,
scoria, dense lithic materials or
crystals or combination of the four.
Particle size: less than 2 mm
diameter (ash) , 2-64 mm diameter
(lapilli) , more than 64 mm diameter
(blocks and bombs).

Volcanic Gas
Volcanic gas is one of the basic components of
a magma or lava. Active and inactive
volcanoes may release to the atmosphere
gases in the form of: water vapor, hydrogen
sulfide, sulfur dioxide , carbon monoxide,
hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluorid.
Aside from the major constituents, minor
amounts of nitrogen, methane, argon and
helium may be also present in volcanic gases.
The proportion of these components changes
with changing temperature.

Lahar (an Indonesian term), sometimes called mudflows or volcanic debris
flows, are flowing mixtures of volcanic debris and water. Lahars are
classfied into: Primary or hot lahar - associated directly with volcanic
eruption and Secondary or cold lahar - caused by heavy rainfall.
Lahar distribute and redistribute volcanic ash and debris deposited around
the volcano after the materials has cooled and has become water logged.
Lahar in tropical areas can be produced by:
* sudden draining of a crater lake, caused by either an explosive eruption
or collapse of a crater fall (e.g. Agua, Kelut, Ruapehu)
* movement of a pyroclastic flow into a river or lake, displacing and mixing
with water
* avalanche of water-sustained rock debris, where water can be from
heavy rain, hydrothermal activity or other sources
* torrential rainfall on unconsolidated deposits on slope of a volcano (e.g.
* collapse of a temporary dam, where recent volcanic deposits have
blocked a steam channel (e.g. Asama, Pinatubo)

Tsunami are long-period sea waves or wave trains
that are generated by the under-the-sea
earthquake. Most tsunamis are caused by fault
displacements on the sea floor and of volcanic
sudden displacement of water. They travel at high
speed water as low broad waves and build to
great heights as they approach shores. Origin
including volcanic or volcano-tectonic
earthquakes, explosions collapse or subsidence,
landslides, lahars, pyroclastic flows or debris
avalanches entering bodies of water, and
atmospheric waves that couple with the sea.

Other eruption Phenomena

Debris avalanche- fast downhill movement of soil and rock,
speed: 70 km/hr (due to high water content and steep slopes)
caused by slope failure on the cones of stratovolcanoes.
Hydrothermal explosions- explosions from instantaneous
flashing of steam upon contact with hot rocks.
Secondary explosionsare caused by the contact of water with
hot pyroclastic flow deposits.
Subsidenceis a ground deformation resulting from the
downward adjustment of surface materials to the voids caused
by volcanic activity.