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What are cinder cone volcanoes?

A:

Quick Answer

Cinder cone, or scoria cone, volcanoes are cone-shaped hills that form when lava fragments are ejected from localized vents and pile up and solidify around the opening. Cinder cones can be standalone formations or develop on the slopes of shield volcanoes and stratovolcanoes. Mount Etna in Sicily and Mauna Kea in Hawaii are well-known volcanoes with hundreds of cinder cone formations along their sides.

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Full Answer

Scoria is a type of volcanic basalt rock around a cinder cone crater. As trapped gases increase heat and pressure inside volcanoes, fountains of magma form and flow out of the vent openings. The lava cools and turns into hardened fragments as it explodes out into the open air, gradually forming the sides of the vent into a layered crater. Volcanic activity that produces a cinder cone is known as a Strombolian eruption.

Cinder cones are the smallest volcanoes, reaching an average height of 300 feet and a maximum height of roughly 1,200 feet, according to LiveScience. In general, these formations start off with a round shape, but violent eruptions or persistent wind can shift the vent location or lava flow. New cinder cones can form in months or years, making them the most common form of volcano.

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  • Q:

    What are cinder cone volcanoes made of?

    A:

    Cinder cone volcanoes are made of material called scoria, a low density form of basalt. Scoria forms as gases in the lava try to force their way out of the molten material through a vertical path.

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  • Q:

    How do cinder-cone volcanoes erupt?

    A:

    Cinder-cone volcanoes, properly called scoria volcanoes, erupt when expanding gas bubbles drive lava to the volcano's surface. Because of this pressure, the lava fountains are usually very high and vertical. By the time the erupted material lands, it is already cool.

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  • Q:

    What kind of eruption does a cinder cone have?

    A:

    Cinder cone volcanoes generally spew lava dramatically when they erupt, though the eruptions are not particularly dangerous to human populations. Dramatic and beautiful as the eruptions may be, they are quite insignificant in comparison to the eruptions of other types of volcanoes.

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  • Q:

    What is a cinder cone volcano?

    A:

    According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a cinder cone is the simplest type of volcano, built up out of lava deposits left by a single magma vent. When the vent blows lava into the air, fragments cool and solidify, falling to earth around the vent. Over time, these deposits build up into a cone-shaped hill.

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