Different Types of Volcanoes

Shield volcanoes Main article: Shield volcano Shield volcanoes, so named for their broad, shield-like profiles, are formed by the eruption of low-viscosity lava that can flow a great distance from a vent, but not generally explode catastrophically. Since low-viscosity magma is typically low in silica, shield volcanoes are more common in oceanic than continental settings. The Hawaiian volcanic chain is a series of shield cones, and they are common in Iceland, as well. Lava domes Main article: Lava dome Lava domes are built by slow eruptions of highly viscous lavas.

They are sometimes formed within the crater of a previous volcanic eruption (as in Mount Saint Helens), but can also form independently, as in the case of Lassen Peak. Like stratovolcanoes, they can produce violent, explosive eruptions, but their lavas generally do not flow far from the originating vent. Cryptodomes Cryptodomes are formed when viscous lava forces its way up and causes a bulge. The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens was an example. Lava was under great pressure and forced a bulge in the mountain, which was unstable and slid down the north side.

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Volcanic cones (cinder cones) Main articles: volcanic cone and Cinder cone Volcanic cones or cinder cones are the result from eruptions that erupt mostly small pieces of scoria and pyroclastics (both resemble cinders, hence the name of this volcano type) that build up around the vent. These can be relatively short-lived eruptions that produce a cone-shaped hill perhaps 30 to 400 meters high. Most cinder cones erupt only once. Cinder cones may form as flank vents on larger volcanoes, or occur on their own. Paricutin in Mexico and Sunset Crater in Arizona are examples of cinder cones.

In New Mexico, Caja del Rio is a volcanic field of over 60 cinder cones. Stratovolcanoes (composite volcanoes) Main article: Stratovolcano Stratovolcanoes or composite volcanoes are tall conical mountains composed of lava flows and other ejecta in alternate layers, the strata that give rise to the name. Stratovolcanoes are also known as composite volcanoes, created from several structures during different kinds of eruptions. Strato/composite volcanoes are made of cinders, ash and lava. Cinders and ash pile on top of each other, lava flows on top of the ash, where it cools and hardens, and then the process begins again.

Classic examples include Mt. Fuji in Japan, Mayon Volcano in the Philippines, and Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli in Italy. In recorded history, explosive eruptions by stratovolcanoes have posed the greatest hazard to civilizations, as ash is produced by an explosive eruption. No supervolcano erupted in recorded history. Shield volcanoes have not an enormous pressure build up from the lava flow. Fissure vents and monogenetic volcanic fields (volcanic cones) have not powerful explosive eruptions, as they are many times under extension.

Stratovolcanoes (30–35°) are steeper than shield volcanoes (generally 5–10°), their loose tephra are material for dangerous lahars. [3] Supervolcanoes Main article: Supervolcano See also: List of largest volcanic eruptions The Lake Toba volcano created a caldera 100 km long A supervolcano is a large volcano that usually has a large caldera and can potentially produce devastation on an enormous, sometimes continental, scale. Such eruptions would be able to cause severe cooling of global temperatures for many years afterwards because of the huge volumes of sulfur and ash erupted.

They are the most dangerous type of volcano. Examples include Yellowstone Caldera in Yellowstone National Park and Valles Caldera in New Mexico (both western United States), Lake Taupo in New Zealand, Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia and Ngorogoro Crater in Tanzania, Krakatoa near Java and Sumatra, Indonesia. Supervolcanoes are hard to identify centuries later, given the enormous areas they cover. Large igneous provinces are also considered supervolcanoes because of the vast amount of basalt lava erupted, but are non-explosive.



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