Some facts about composite volcanoes include the fact that some of the best-known mountains around the world are composite volcanoes. This list includes Mount Fuji in Japan, Mount Hood in Oregon and Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier in the state of Washington.
Composite volcanoes are made up of multiple layers that are accumulated over multiple eruptions. A typical composite volcano has a crater at the summit of the mountain that contains either a group of vent clusters or a large, central vent. Lava from an active composite volcano can flow through cracks in the crater wall or from fissures on the central cone. This lava then hardens around the fissures and strengthens the central cone.
A composite volcano generally has a more explosive eruption compared to a shield volcano. The eruptions of Krakatoa in 1883 A.D. and Vesuvius in 79 A.D. are recorded as claiming thousands of lives due to their sheer destructive power.
The lava contained within this type of volcano has very high viscosity, which causes it to cool and harden fairly quickly. Composite volcanoes that have gone dormant typically start suffering the effects of erosion on the top cone. This is then followed by hardening magma.