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Types of Volcanoes

Types of Volcanoes

Volcano - Stratovolcano - Small Volcanoes come in many shapes and sizes. They form as lava, rock pieces, and gases escape through vents on the surface of the Earth or other planets. Chemical makeup of magma, tectonic setting, and location are just a few factors that influence the type of volcano that forms. There are several major types of volcanoes. However, it is important to remember that there can be variation even within these types.

Composite volcanoes, also called stratovolcanoes, are towering, powerful volcanoes. They grow as alternating layers of lava flows and ejected rocky material are released from the vent. Their eruptions can be explosive. The ancient city of Pompeii, Italy was destroyed when the composite volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79.

Shield volcanoes form from multiple eruptions. The eruptions are usually quiet and not explosive. Lava flows out the vent and hardens into a layer. Over time, layers of hardened lava create these large volcanoes with gently sloping sides. The Hawaiian Islands are famous examples of shield volcanoes.

Cinder cones are small compared to other volcanoes. But, don't let their small size fool you! These volcanoes tend to erupt explosively and eject pieces of rock into the air. Often, cinder cones will have craters at their tops. The erupted material falls back down and hardens, creating these loosely packed, rocky volcanoes. Cinder cones can form on their own, but they are also found on the sides of other types of volcanoes.

Directions for This Lesson: In this lesson, you will learn about three major types of volcanoes. First, try the practice questions to determine what you already know. Then, watch the video lesson to learn more.


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