Volcanoes – those smoking, red-hot peaks found on the edges of active tectonic plates – are known for their explosive eruptions. When magma (or molten rock from deep inside the earth) finds its way to the surface and can no longer go any further, it bursts through in what we know as a volcanic eruption. But what is it like inside a volcano? That might be your first thought when contemplating this question.
But with so many different types of volcanoes around the world, it isn’t as simple as providing an answer. There are numerous subtypes of volcanoes that exist due to different factors influencing the eruption. Some will have an explosive opening while others will ooze lava at a slower pace. So how do you know what you’re getting into when exploring these natural wonders? Keep reading for some insight into that and more.
What is a Volcanic eruption?
A volcanic eruption occurs when molten rock (magma) from inside the earth is brought close to the earth’s surface and cannot go any further. This happens due to the pressure exerted by the weight of the ground above it, which is known as the overburden. When this happens, the magma bursts through the earth’s surface in a process known as an eruption.
A volcanic eruption normally happens when an amount of magma that is more than a critical volume is present. This is due to the fact that it changes the pressure and temperature of the surrounding rocks, causing them to either expand or contract.
Types of Volcanoes
There are many different types of volcanoes and eruption types around the world. The eruption types are defined by the location of the eruption, the morphology of the eruption, and the chemical composition of the erupted material. This can be broken down into three main types:
Cinder cone: This type of volcano is made up of small, spiky rocks. They are usually found at the edges of tectonic plates and are formed when the magma is full of gas. Cinder cones can also form from a volcanic eruption inside a forest or another area where there is lots of vegetation. This is known as a forest fire volcano. The Hawaiian volcanoes are an example of a cinder cone.
Hawaiian: These are the volcanoes that are recognizable by the people who live near them. They can be huge mountains that have plenty of lava oozing out of their sides. Hawaiian volcanoes are created by the slow accumulation of lava over a long period of time. They are formed from the magma rising from deep inside the earth and cooling down inside the crust of the earth. This makes the crust thicker, which causes the earth’s surface above to be pushed upwards. Volcanoes that are created in this way are known as shield volcanoes.
Shield: These are volcanoes that have wide, gently sloping sides. They also have a large, low dome in the center. Shield volcanoes are made up of lava that has traveled through the ground to the surface. They are created when there is a lot of lava inside the earth. The Hawaiian volcanoes also shield volcanoes.
Peak: These are the volcanoes that are the highest in the world. They are formed when the magma rises and pushes its way through the earth’s crust. They are created when the magma inside the earth is very viscous. This means that it is very thick and doesn’t flow easily. They are created when there is a change in the composition of the ground above the magma. This can be caused by an earthquake or fluctuations in the amount of pressure being exerted by the overburden.
Where Are Volcanoes Located?
There are many volcanoes located around the world. They are usually found where the tectonic plates are in contact with one another. The volcanoes are formed when the plates are moving towards each other, forcing the molten rock from deep inside the earth to the crust. These volcanic areas can be broken down into five main areas:
At the edges of tectonic plates: These are known as subduction zones, and they are where the crust is being pushed into the earth’s mantle. Volcanoes found in this area are known as arc volcanoes.
At the edges of continental plates: These volcanoes are created when the crust of the earth is pulled apart. They are called rift volcanoes.
At mid-ocean ridges: These volcanoes form when the sea floor is being created. They are called mid-ocean ridge volcanoes.
What Does the Inside of a Volcano Look Like?
The look of a volcano can vary depending on its type. While some are made up of hot lava, others are a collection of rocks. Some volcanoes have sheer walls that have been shaped by the elements, while others have a large dome in their center. If you are lucky enough to explore the inside of a volcano, you will find it is a dark, dusty place.
Some volcanoes have natural skylights that you can explore, but others will be too deep to see the light from above. Some volcanoes that open up to the surface can be explored on foot, allowing you to see what lies inside. You will find that there will be lots of rocks and dust on the ground. If you are lucky enough to explore a volcano that has lava flowing through it, you will find that it is a spectacular sight. Lava can be red, orange, or yellow in color, so it is a stunning scene to behold.
The Dangers of Climbing a Volcano
Climbing a volcano is an incredibly dangerous choice. While there are many that are entirely safe to explore, there are many that have a risk of erupting. Volcanoes are unpredictable and can change very quickly. At any time, they have the potential to erupt, so it is important to stay safe while exploring them. There are many dangers while climbing a volcano.
There are rocks that you can trip over, falling debris, and there might be lava flowing nearby. There is also the risk of being buried by a volcanic ash fall. This is when a volcano releases ash into the air and it lands on the ground. If you are next to a volcano that is erupting, you could be covered in ash, which can be very dangerous.
Exploring volcanoes is an incredible journey and one that many people have completed. It is important to understand that every volcano is different and will have different risks, so be sure to educate yourself before exploring.
Volcanoes are fascinating geological features, and their formation is very complicated. However, you don’t need to be a geologist to explore them – many are easily accessible and are great for adventurous tourists.