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All About Volcanoes , Exploring the Different Types

Now that you have already learned the origin of the term, ‘volcano,’ and where some of the leading structures are located, it’s time to explore the different kinds of volcanoes that are found throughout the world, which includes one that produces some pretty scary explosions.

Different Types of Volcanoes

To get a better idea of how volcanoes work, you may want to become familiar with the different types of volcanoes, which are listed below:

Shield Volcano: This volcano has a gentle slope that produces a rather fluid lava (known as basaltic lava), which generates flows that are long lasting and gentle for the most part. As far as explosions are concerned, they are rated as minimal. Shield volcanoes can become rather large, as seen in Mt. Kilauea, which is located in Hawaii.

Composite or Strato Volcano: With a steep cone shape that has the potential to explode with ash, pumice, gases, and a small amount of silica lava (possessing a stiff composite and typically called rhyolite), this kind of volcano can also bring about deadly mudflows with their eruptions , known as lahars. The majority of volcanoes found on Earth fall under this category. When compared with any other type of volcano, strato volcanoes have a reputation for taking the most human lives , primarily because they are so abundant across the works, but also because their mudflows are quite impacting. A couple of examples of this type of volcano include Krakatoa (situated in Indonesia), Mt. Pinatubo (found in the Philippines), and Mt. St. Helens in the state of Washington.  

Lava Dome: The lava that flows from this kind of volcano is characterized as gummy or sticky. It barely emerges, but forms a rounded (or bulbous) shape. Mont Pelée in Martinique is an example of a lava dome volcano.

Cinder Cone: With steep sides and loose fragmented cinders that fall to the Earth from a cone-shaped body, the lava flows through a single vent when it comes to a cinder cone volcano. Usually, this structure only measures up to around 1,000 feet into the air. At the top of the volcano, the center is most likely shaped like a bowl. As lava (filled with gas) erupts into the air, the lava usually ends up as separate pieces that eventually form cinders.

Rhyolite Caldera Complex: When it comes to the most explosive volcanoes, this particular selection tops the list. While they do not typically look like the average volcano , they still showcase an eruption that produces a crater (also known as a ‘caldera’) when the region surrounding the vent suffers a collapse. A couple of examples of this type include Yellowstone in Wyoming and Lake Taupo in New Zealand, which generated an eruption around 80 AD.

Across the world, there are many different well-known volcanoes that fall under a special category set by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior. In Part III of this series, you will encounter some of the locations and names of 16 very important volcanoes.