Q:

How do volcanoes erupt?

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Quick Answer

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.

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How do volcanoes erupt?
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Full Answer

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

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    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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    What do volcanologists wear?

    A:

    Volcanologists wear heavy boots, long-sleeved shirts and heavy work gloves in order to protect their bodies from lava near a volcano. According to Oregon State University, volcanologists might also wear jeans, a rock-climbing helmet for protection and a gas mask.

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    What is a volcanic hot spot?

    A:

    A volcanic hotspot is an area in the earth’s mantle in which thermal plumes provide the necessary heat and magma for volcanic activity over a long period, explains the U.S. Geological Service. These hotspots are the basis for the creation of land, including the Hawaiian Islands.

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    What are the names of volcanic mountains?

    A:

    Popular volcanic mountain names are Mount St. Helens in the United States mainland, Mauna Loa in Hawaii, Mount Rainier in Washington, Mount Edziza in British Columbia and Hoodoo Mountain in Canada. Many of the highest volcanoes are located in Chile and Argentina, such as Ojos del Salado, Tacora, Tromen, Copahue and Risco Plateado.

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