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In shallow water, active volcanoes disclose their presence by blasting steam and rocky debris high above the ocean's surface. In the ocean's deep, the tremendous weight of the water above prevents the explosive release of steam and gases; however, they can be detected by hydrophones and discoloration of water because of volcanic gases. Pillow lava is a common eruptive product of submarine volcanoes and is characterized by thick sequences of discontinuous pillow-shaped masses which form under water. Even large submarine eruptions may not disturb the ocean surface due to the rapid cooling effect and increased buoyancy of water as compared to air which often causes volcanic vents to form steep pillars on the ocean floor.

Hydrothermal vents are common near these volcanoes, and some support peculiar ecosystems based on dissolved minerals. Over time, the formations created by submarine volcanoes may become so large that they break the ocean surface as new islands or floating pumice rafts. Subglacial volcanoes develop underneath icecaps. They are made up of flat lava which flows at the top of extensive pillow lavas and palagonite. When the icecap melts, the lava on top collapses, leaving a flat-topped mountain. These volcanoes are also called table mountains , tuyas , or uncommonly mobergs. Very good examples of this type of volcano can be seen in Iceland, however, there are also tuyas in British Columbia.

The origin of the term comes from Tuya Butte , which is one of the several tuyas in the area of the Tuya River and Tuya Range in northern British Columbia. Tuya Butte was the first such landform analyzed and so its name has entered the geological literature for this kind of volcanic formation.


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The Tuya Mountains Provincial Park was recently established to protect this unusual landscape, which lies north of Tuya Lake and south of the Jennings River near the boundary with the Yukon Territory. Mud volcanoes or mud domes are formations created by geo-excreted liquids and gases, although there are several processes which may cause such activity. The largest structures are 10 kilometers in diameter and reach meters high. Another way of classifying volcanoes is by the composition of material erupted lava , since this affects the shape of the volcano.

Lava can be broadly classified into four different compositions: Two types of lava are named according to the surface texture: A popular way of classifying magmatic volcanoes is by their frequency of eruption [ according to whom? However, these popular classifications—extinct in particular—are practically meaningless to scientists. They use classifications which refer to a particular volcano's formative and eruptive processes and resulting shapes.

There is no consensus among volcanologists on how to define an "active" volcano. The lifespan of a volcano can vary from months to several million years, making such a distinction sometimes meaningless when compared to the lifespans of humans or even civilizations. For example, many of Earth's volcanoes have erupted dozens of times in the past few thousand years but are not currently showing signs of eruption. Given the long lifespan of such volcanoes, they are very active. By human lifespans, however, they are not. Scientists usually consider a volcano to be erupting or likely to erupt if it is currently erupting, or showing signs of unrest such as unusual earthquake activity or significant new gas emissions.

Most scientists consider a volcano active if it has erupted in the last 10, years Holocene times — the Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program uses this definition of active. Most volcanoes are situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Historical time or recorded history is another timeframe for active. In China and the Mediterranean , it reaches back nearly 3, years, but in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada, it reaches back less than years, and in Hawaii and New Zealand , only around years.

As of , the following are considered Earth's most active volcanoes: Extinct volcanoes are those that scientists consider unlikely to erupt again because the volcano no longer has a magma supply. Examples of extinct volcanoes are many volcanoes on the Hawaiian — Emperor seamount chain in the Pacific Ocean although some volcanoes at the eastern end of the chain are active , Hohentwiel in Germany, Shiprock in New Mexico, and Zuidwal volcano in the Netherlands.

Volcano Facts and Types of Volcanoes

Edinburgh Castle in Scotland is famously located atop an extinct volcano. Otherwise, whether a volcano is truly extinct is often difficult to determine. Since "supervolcano" calderas can have eruptive lifespans sometimes measured in millions of years, a caldera that has not produced an eruption in tens of thousands of years is likely to be considered dormant instead of extinct.

Some volcanologists refer to extinct volcanoes as inactive, though the term is now more commonly used for dormant volcanoes once thought to be extinct. It is difficult to distinguish an extinct volcano from a dormant inactive one. Dormant volcanoes are those that have not erupted for thousands of years, but are likely to erupt again in the future. Nevertheless, volcanoes may remain dormant for a long period of time. Before its catastrophic eruption of , Pinatubo was an inconspicuous volcano, unknown to most people in the surrounding areas.

The three common popular classifications of volcanoes can be subjective and some volcanoes thought to have been extinct have erupted again. To help prevent people from falsely believing they are not at risk when living on or near a volcano, countries have adopted new classifications to describe the various levels and stages of volcanic activity.

1. Novarupta

Other systems use colors and words. Some systems use a combination of both. The United States Geological Survey USGS has adopted a common system nationwide for characterizing the level of unrest and eruptive activity at volcanoes. The new volcano alert-level system classifies volcanoes now as being in a normal, advisory, watch or warning stage. Additionally, colors are used to denote the amount of ash produced. The Decade Volcanoes are 17 volcanoes identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior IAVCEI as being worthy of particular study in light of their history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas.

The 17 current Decade Volcanoes are.

The massive volcano that scientists can't find

There are many different types of volcanic eruptions and associated activity: All of these activities can pose a hazard to humans. Earthquakes, hot springs , fumaroles , mud pots and geysers often accompany volcanic activity.

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The concentrations of different volcanic gases can vary considerably from one volcano to the next. Water vapor is typically the most abundant volcanic gas, followed by carbon dioxide [22] and sulfur dioxide. Other principal volcanic gases include hydrogen sulfide , hydrogen chloride , and hydrogen fluoride.

A large number of minor and trace gases are also found in volcanic emissions, for example hydrogen , carbon monoxide , halocarbons , organic compounds, and volatile metal chlorides. The most significant impacts from these injections come from the conversion of sulfur dioxide to sulfuric acid H 2 SO 4 , which condenses rapidly in the stratosphere to form fine sulfate aerosols.

The SO 2 emissions alone of two different eruptions are sufficient to compare their potential climatic impact. Several eruptions during the past century have caused a decline in the average temperature at the Earth's surface of up to half a degree Fahrenheit scale for periods of one to three years; sulfur dioxide from the eruption of Huaynaputina probably caused the Russian famine of — A volcanic winter is thought to have taken place around 70, years ago after the supereruption of Lake Toba on Sumatra island in Indonesia.

It has been suggested that volcanic activity caused or contributed to the End-Ordovician , Permian-Triassic , Late Devonian mass extinctions , and possibly others. The eruption of Mount Tambora created global climate anomalies that became known as the " Year Without a Summer " because of the effect on North American and European weather. The freezing winter of —41, which led to widespread famine in northern Europe, may also owe its origins to a volcanic eruption. Sulfate aerosols promote complex chemical reactions on their surfaces that alter chlorine and nitrogen chemical species in the stratosphere.

This effect, together with increased stratospheric chlorine levels from chlorofluorocarbon pollution, generates chlorine monoxide ClO , which destroys ozone O 3. As the aerosols grow and coagulate, they settle down into the upper troposphere where they serve as nuclei for cirrus clouds and further modify the Earth's radiation balance. Most of the hydrogen chloride HCl and hydrogen fluoride HF are dissolved in water droplets in the eruption cloud and quickly fall to the ground as acid rain.

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The injected ash also falls rapidly from the stratosphere; most of it is removed within several days to a few weeks. Finally, explosive volcanic eruptions release the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and thus provide a deep source of carbon for biogeochemical cycles. Gas emissions from volcanoes are a natural contributor to acid rain. Volcanic activity releases about to teragrams million to million short tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Large injections may cause visual effects such as unusually colorful sunsets and affect global climate mainly by cooling it. Volcanic eruptions also provide the benefit of adding nutrients to soil through the weathering process of volcanic rocks. It rose out of the ground one February day, and after about eight hours "began to roar and hurl out quantities of incandescent bombs with great force," according to U.

Within a week, it had surpassed a height of feet. The eruption ended after nine years, and left a cone-like hill of volcanic rock and debris over 1, feet high.

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Mount Vesuvius is probably the most infamous mountain in history. Nearly 2, years ago, in 79 A. This type of eruption, which blasts ominous columns of ash more than 11 kilometers 6. Pliny the Younger, nephew of the famed Roman general Pliny the Elder who died during the eruption , fled Vesuvius as the ash cloud collapsed down the mountain in devastating, fiery avalanches.

The dark cloud turned day to night, terrifying the fleeing Romans. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore.

The volcano has been active ever since, but its eruptions, like many volcanoes, are intermittent. Many volcano scientists don't simply consider Yellowstone to be a volcano, but a " supervolcano ," as it's capable of blasting out colossal amounts at least cubic miles of molten material, which has happened at this supervolcano twice in the last 2 million years.

These major eruptions are rare — in human time, anyways — but the volcano is unquestionably active. Yellowstone National Park, which sits atop the volcano, contains over erupting geysers, fueled by the scorching underground where molten rock brews close by. The volcano is one of the most closely monitored in the world. Earthquakes would foreshadow an eruption weeks, if not years , in advance. So, don't worry, we'll have plenty of notice if the supervolcano threatens to erupt anytime in the near future.

One of them happened to be saved by imprisonment in a stone cell. The eruption is estimated to have killed about 28, people as an avalanche of scorching rock demolished the unassuming city. Stratovolcanoes can erupt with great violence. Pressure builds in the magma chamber as gases, under immense heat and pressure, are dissolved in the liquid rock. When the magma reaches the conduits the pressure is released and the gases explode, like soda spewing out of a soda can that you shook up and opened suddenly, according to San Diego State University.

Because they form in a system of underground conduits, stratovolcanoes may blow out the sides of the cone as well as the summit crater. Stratovolcanoes are considered the most violent. Helens , in Washington state, is a stratovolcano that erupted on May 18, Approximately square miles square kilometers of forest was completely obliterated and 57 people were killed.


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Over the course of the day, winds blew million tons of ash eastward across the United States and caused complete darkness in Spokane, Washington, miles kilometers from the volcano, according to the U. Shield volcanoes are huge, gently sloping volcanoes built of very thin lava spreading out in all directions from a central vent. They have wide bases several miles in diameter with steeper middle slopes and a flatter summit.

Eruptions of these volcanoes are not generally explosive, but are more like liquid overflowing around the edges of a container. The world's largest volcano, Mauna Loa in Hawaii , is a shield volcano, according to the U. Mauna Loa is about 55, feet 17, meters from its base beneath the ocean to the summit, which is 13, feet 4, meters above sea level. It is also one of the Earth's most active volcanoes and is carefully monitored. The most recent eruption was in Lava domes are built up when the lava is too viscous to flow , according to the U.

A bubble or plug of cooling rock forms over a fissure. This cooler, thick lava usually rises near the end of an explosive eruption and lava domes often form within the craters of stratovolcanoes. Helens has several well-defined lava domes inside the crater , according to NASA. Besides well-known symmetrical volcanoes such as Mount Fuji in Japan and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, volcanic activity is responsible for several other distinctive landforms. A caldera is a bowl-shaped depression formed when a volcano collapses into the void left when its magma chamber is emptied.

There are three types , according to San Diego State University. The first type is a crater lake caldera. This is the result of a stratovolcano collapsing into its magma chamber during a violent eruption. Basaltic calderas have a concentric ring pattern resulting from a series of gradual collapses rather than a single event.

They are often found at the summit of shield volcanoes such as the craters at the tops of Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Resurgent calderas are the largest volcanic structures on Earth. They are the result of catastrophic eruptions that dwarf any eruptions ever recorded by human beings.


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  5. Yellowstone caldera, sometimes called a "super volcano," is one example. When magma solidifies in the fissure of a volcano the hard dense rock may form a " neck " that remains when softer surrounding rock has been eroded away, according to the U.