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What is an extinct volcano?

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Quick Answer

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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What is an extinct volcano?
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Full Answer

Volcanoes are often classified according to their activity. While extinct and dormant are two types of volcanoes, a third type is an active volcano. This volcano type is one that erupted in the past and is capable of erupting at a future time.

An example of an active volcano is Kilauea in Hawaii, and a dormant volcano is Mauna Kea, which erupted nearly 4,000 years ago. Kohala in Hawaii is an example of an extinct volcano; its last eruption was nearly 60,000 years ago. Although a volcano may be classified as extinct, it could possibly resume activity in the future if it goes through a process called rejuvenation.


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    What does "dormant volcano" mean?

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