Q:

How do volcanoes erupt?

A:

Volcanic eruptions can either be effusive or explosive. An effusive volcanic eruption occurs when the lava pours out onto the ground from the volcano's vent. When the molten rock or magma is thin and runny, gases can easily escape and the lava flows freely and travels far. An explosive volcanic eruption is caused by thick and sticky magma, which prevents gases from escaping and causes them to explode violently.

A volcanic eruption occurs when magma collects in the magma chamber and rises to the surface due to the pressure from the solid rocks around it. As the magma rises, bubbles form from the dissolved gases in the magma and exert pressure, causing the magma to rise to the surface. In an explosive eruption, magma breaks up in the air into fragments called tephra, which can take the form of ash particles, small hot rocks or large boulders. Unlike an effusive eruption where lava travels slowly, an explosive eruption can be dangerous and deadly. Massive volcanic eruptions also leave behind thousands of tons of volcanic ashes that can suffocate humans, animals and plants. Most magma erupts through the central vent or the opening surrounded by the crater. Some volcanic materials, however, escape through smaller channels formed on the sides of the volcano.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why do volcanoes erupt?

    A:

    Hot melted rocks collect under the Earth's surface and when the pressure becomes too hard, the Earth's skin breaks, and a volcano erupts. The melted rock inside the Earth is called magma, but when it comes out in an eruption, it is called lava.

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  • Q:

    How often do volcanoes erupt?

    A:

    Some volcanoes erupt often and some are inactive for long periods of time. The amount of time between volcanic eruptions depends on the volcano itself, according to the Department of Geosciences at Oregon State University.

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  • Q:

    What are some types of volcanic eruptions?

    A:

    The two basic types of volcanic eruptions are effusive and explosive eruptions. In effusive eruptions, magma flows to the surface and down the sides of the volcano as lava. In explosive eruptions, magma violently rips through the top portion of the volcano and reaches the surface in pieces.

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  • Q:

    What gases are produced by volcanic eruptions?

    A:

    Volcanic eruptions mainly produce steam (H2 0 ), sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ). They do release other gases in lesser amounts, such as carbon monoxide (CO), helium (He), hydrogen (H 2 ), hydrogen chloride (HCL), hydrogen fluoride (HF) and hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S).

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