Volcanoes

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Volcanic eruptions involve the incursion of liquid magma into a physical environment, and the effects include major transformations, ranging from the formation of new land to the destruction of the viability of an existing environment. Just one example of the creation of new land comes from the Hawaiian Islands, which appeared as magma cooled into land after eruptions.

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  • What is an extinct volcano?

    Q: What is an extinct volcano?

    A: An extinct volcano is one that has not erupted in at least 10,000 years and is not expected to erupt in the future, according to Oregon State University. There can be confusion between dormant and extinct volcanoes, but the difference between the two is that a dormant volcano may erupt even if it is in the distant future.
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  • How was Mount Kilimanjaro formed?

    Q: How was Mount Kilimanjaro formed?

    A: Mount Kilimanjaro is a stratovolcano that formed as the plates below it dropped and porous basalt rock magma erupted through the surface of the ocean. The magma and other debris formed layers with each eruption, eventually rising high enough to bring Mount Kilimanjaro to its height of 19,341 feet.
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  • What happened when Mount Etna erupted?

    Q: What happened when Mount Etna erupted?

    A: Noxious fumes and tremendous amounts of ash and molten lava spewed from Mount Etna in 1669 and killed more than 20,000 Sicilians. Just prior to this eruption, an associated earthquake killed an additional 15,000 people.
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  • How do volcanoes change the Earth's surface?

    Q: How do volcanoes change the Earth's surface?

    A: Volcanic eruptions involve the incursion of liquid magma into a physical environment, and the effects include major transformations, ranging from the formation of new land to the destruction of the viability of an existing environment. Just one example of the creation of new land comes from the Hawaiian Islands, which appeared as magma cooled into land after eruptions.
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  • What is a lateral blast?

    Q: What is a lateral blast?

    A: A lateral blast, also known as a lateral eruption, is a volcanic eruption that occurs out of the side of a volcano instead of at its summit. An example of a lateral blast is the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.
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  • Can lava melt concrete?

    Q: Can lava melt concrete?

    A: Concrete is a composite material, so it has no single melting point of its own. Each of the different components of concrete, primarily sand, gravel and cement, has a melting point of its own. Rather than melt concrete, molten lava causes it to rapidly decompose.
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  • What is a main vent in a volcano?

    Q: What is a main vent in a volcano?

    A: The main vent of a volcano is the outlet chamber in the Earth's crust that allows hot magma to reach the surface. While secondary vents may form to alleviate the pressure caused by a magma chamber, the main vent is responsible for giving volcanoes their familiar cone shape.
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  • Why are there volcanoes?

    Q: Why are there volcanoes?

    A: Volcanic vents allow the Earth to release built up gases from the heat and pressure emanating from its core. Magma rises towards the surface, and as the pressure builds the magma seeks outlets through which to flow. The higher the pressure build-up, the greater the volcanic explosion.
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  • What is an ash cloud?

    Q: What is an ash cloud?

    A: An ash cloud is a large cloud of smoke and debris that forms over a volcano after it erupts. Ash clouds consist of several elements, including ash, gases, dust, steam, rock fragments and other materials that come from inside the volcano and combine in the air above the crater.
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  • What is the oldest volcano in the world?

    Q: What is the oldest volcano in the world?

    A: Mt. Etna is considered the oldest volcano in the world. Its first recorded eruption took place around 1500 B.C.E. Since that date, the volcano is believed to have erupted an additional 190 times.
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  • What are active and inactive volcanoes?

    Q: What are active and inactive volcanoes?

    A: Active volcanoes are those that have erupted recently or regularly erupt, and inactive volcanoes are those that have not erupted for a long time. The exact time distinction between active and inactive volcanoes differs between experts.
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  • How do volcanoes affect the environment?

    Q: How do volcanoes affect the environment?

    A: An erupting volcano emits gases and dust particles that can cause profound changes in weather and climate throughout the world. Volcanism also affects the environment by producing acid rain and making ocean water warmer.
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  • How often does Old Faithful erupt?

    Q: How often does Old Faithful erupt?

    A: Old Faithful erupts at varying intervals from 60 to 110 minutes in length. The Yellowstone National Park staff offers predictions based on past activity; this is so that visitors can plan a visit to the geyser area during an eruption, which lasts between one-and-a-half minutes and five minutes.
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  • What country has the most active volcanoes?

    Q: What country has the most active volcanoes?

    A: Indonesia has 147 volcanoes, 76 of which are still active making it the world's most active volcano country. The country consists of a chain of more than 13,000 islands that are spread out over an area similar in size to the continental United States.
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  • What is the closest volcano to Denver, Colorado?

    Q: What is the closest volcano to Denver, Colorado?

    A: There are no active volcanoes near Denver, Colorado. Nearby extinct volcanoes are located 2 hours from Denver in the Central Colorado volcanic field. These include the Grizzly Peak and Mount Aetna cauldrons and Bonanza and Marshall Creek calderas. The Central Colorado Volcanic Field is located in Park and Teller counties.
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  • Where is Mount Kilimanjaro located?

    Q: Where is Mount Kilimanjaro located?

    A: Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania. It is a dormant volcano comprising three volcanic cones, and is the highest peak in Africa.
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  • What is a composite cone volcano?

    Q: What is a composite cone volcano?

    A: A composite cone volcano, or a stratovolcano, is built by multiple eruptions from surrounding volcanoes. They are formed over hundreds of thousands of years and have their entire structure build by magma flowing from geographically close volcanoes.
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  • What is a mudflow on a volcano called?

    Q: What is a mudflow on a volcano called?

    A: Mudflow on a volcano is called lahar and is typically caused by heavy rains during or after volcanic eruptions. Lahars can also occur when nearby ice or snow melts, carrying ash and rock debris down a volcano's slopes.
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  • Are volcanoes mountains?

    Q: Are volcanoes mountains?

    A: While many volcanoes are mountains, it is possible for a volcano to erupt from a vent in any type of land form. Over time, volcanoes become mountains by depositing their discharge around them in ever-increasing layers. Not all mountains are volcanoes.
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  • What is the top of a volcano called?

    Q: What is the top of a volcano called?

    A: The top of a volcano is called the crater. A volcano is shaped like an inverted cone, and the tip of the cone is the crater. The crater is the opening of the vent in a volcano through which the molten magma or the lava is ejected.
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  • How are inselbergs formed?

    Q: How are inselbergs formed?

    A: Inselbergs, or isolated rock hills or mountains, are formed by erosion and long-term weathering. A type of disintegration landform, inselbergs are steep sided and rise abruptly from a gently sloping terrain or level surrounding plain. Their formation may be initiated by a volcanic process that causes a body of relatively erosion-resistant hard rock inside a body of softer rock to rise, which eventually erodes to expose the inner hard-rock portion.
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