What is a volcano ?

A volcano is an opening in the Earth’s crust or in the surface of other plants wherein molten lava and gases erupt. There are two types of volcanic eruption – effusive eruption (slow and dribbling) and explosive eruption (violent). Volcanoes occur in different location, but always between tectonic plates or areas where crust is weak and magma can rise to the surface quickly. This magma turns into “lava” when it reaches the surface.

Around the world, thousands of volcanoes have already been recognized. Some of the most famous volcanoes include Japan’s Sakurajima, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, Washington’s Mt. Rainier, Indonisia’s Merapi, Italy’s Vesuvius and Sicily’s Mt. Etna, among others. When volcanoes become active, the islands in the world are formed.

Different types of volcanoes include:

1) Shield volcanoes – shield-shaped and broad volcanoes that are created through a long-flowing viscous lava and slow eruption
2) Lava domes – created by vicious lava that doesn’t flow far
3) stratovolcanoes – tall conical volcanoes like Mt. Vesuvius and Mt. Fuji
4) Cinder cones – small cone-shaped hills occurring on flanks of other larger volcanoes
5) supervolcanoes – extremely large volcanoes that erupt rarely
6) subglacial volcanoes – rare volcanoes formed under continental glaciers
7) Submarine volcanoes – formed on the ocean floor

Since volcanic eruptions affect the structure of the earth, it plays a huge role in the course of history. In prehistory, two volcanic eruptions –  namely “Yellowstone Caldera” (650,000 years ago) and Lake Toba (75,000 years ago) wiped out over half of the human species resulted in an entire century of cold winters.

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