A Guide for Volcano Enthusiasts
A simple definition of a volcano would be to call it a mountain. Though many volcanoes resemble mountains, they are not formed in the same way. Mountains are formed when the Earth's crust is pushed upwards from two colliding continental plates. Volcanoes however, are formed along the boundaries of colliding or separating plates. When two oceanic plates collide, molten rock (magma) rises up and forms new seafloor or volcanic islands. When oceanic and continental plates collide, the oceanic plate is pushed under and magma forces its way through the earths crust. A volcano is then formed from the lava, rocks, ash, and other substances that have escaped the earths crust.
There are many different types of volcanoes, including a large number of underwater volcanoes. The most well known type of volcano is the stratovolcano, resembling mountains; these volcanoes form during hundreds of years of erupting lava layers that then cooled. Mount St. Helens in Washington is one example of a stratovolcano. Volcanoes can be found all over the world, but they are grouped together, forming along the edges of colliding plates. Most of the active volcanoes in the world can be found along the Ring of Fire, an area along the borders of the Pacific Plate. Japan, New Zealand, and the west coast of North and South America are all part of the ring.
Since early human history, volcanoes have been a source of wonderment; looked on by ancient people as representations of their gods. Though the science of volcanoes is now understood, their majesty and power is still respected and admired; looked at as a chance to see the awesome, destructive, and raging force of nature and its ability to quickly change the natural landscape. Volcano observatories around the world, actively research the science behind volcanoes, studying a volcanoes history and potential to erupt again. Volcanoes position as one of the most beautiful and terrifying natural wonders has also inspired tourism. Today people visit volcano parks and monuments on all corners of the globe, climbing extinct volcanoes and taking adventure tours to active volcanoes. Volcano enthusiasts actively keep up with current volcano eruption alerts and track photos and videos of volcanoes. Exploration of volcanoes has also expanded to study volcanoes on Earth's moon, Mars, and other planets in the solar system.
Volcanoes around the World
Volcano Pictures and Videos
Volcanic Parks and Monuments
Volcanoes of Other World