How do volcanoes work?

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We are all aware of the hot, lava forming phenomenons that are volcanoes. These dangerous landforms are featured in movies, as well as science and history textbooks in schools across the world. Volcanoes are even destinations for vacationers that want to hike on their mountains and witness the wild beauty that volcanoes hold. We watch movies and learn in school the way that these volcanoes work– how they form, erupt, etc. Let’s take a closer look at what really happens inside a volcano.

Volcanoes form whenever hot molten rock, or even magma, escape the earth’s surface, and they continue to grow and form where the surface of the earth’s crust is weak and not as stable as other parts of the crust. Molten rock and magma is located under earth surface beneath the moveable rock plates that cause earthquakes. Volcanoes are basically a way that the planet lets off its energy.

Once a volcano is formed, it is composed of a hard, rock-like outer surface with flowing magma in the middle. Flowing magma is also more widely known as the lava that spews as volcanoes erupt. But how does this lava erupt? Inside volcanoes, there is an internal pressure of gasses. The magma is filled with tiny gas bubbles which make the lava have less density than other surrounding lava. This lower level of density causes the gas bubbles to escape, forming an eruption. This is similar to what happens whenever you shake a bottle of soda and then go to attempt to open it.

Some volcanic eruptions are worse than others, and some volcanoes eventually become inactive and will not have volcanic eruptions, however, there are several active volcanoes that are located around the world in several different continents and countries. Volcanoes are a very simple, yet very baffling part of nature, and it is hard to estimate or predict when a volcano will erupt, however, their explosions can be devastating to nearby civilizations. To get a closer look on how volcanoes work, you can view several videos online that will give you a visual. You can find a volcano video at

photo credit: Storm Crypt via photopin cc

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