Volcano Amazing facts

60 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Volcano | Amazing Facts 4U 

  1. Anything that humans cannot control or are afraid of has been associated with gods and divinity. Ancient cultures had their own versions of volcano gods. Ancient Greeks had Hepaistos , the god of craftsmanship and fire. For Romans Vulcan was blacksmith of gods. Among Hawaiians. Pele is the goddess of volcanoes.
  2. The term “volcano” is from the Latin Volcanus or Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans first used the term to describe Mt. Etna, a volcanic mountain they believed was the forge of Vulcan.
  3. “Lava” derives from the Latin lavara, meaning “to wash,” and is magma that has erupted at the surface.
  4. Hot liquid rock under the Earth’s surface is known as magma, it is called lava after it comes out of a volcano through some opening. Most volcanoes happen on fault lines, or cracks in the Earth’s surface.
  5. There are four major types of volcanoes, classified according to their shape, composition of their magma, and the way they erupt. Composite Volcanoes (also known as Stratovolcanoes) which are the most common type of volcanoes, generally steep-sided cone shaped mountains most of which have a crater at the summit and erupt with different kinds of lava, ash, and rock . Shield Volcanoes are  wide gentle sloping volcanoes that have low viscosity lava flows. Cinder cone volcanoes are smaller single vent volcanoes, that have short-lived eruptions and often have bowl shaped craters at the summit. Lava domes are rounded volcanoes which erupt with very viscous lava that doesn’t flow great distances. An erupting volcano can trigger tsunamis, flash floods, earthquakes, mudflows and rockfalls.
  6. The largest volcano found in the solar system is Olympus Mons on Mars, though it is now extinct. It  rises to an elevation of 27 km measuring 550 km across.
  7. Venus may have at one time produced more volcanoes than any other planet in our solar system, though they are all now extinct.
  8. While no other planet besides Earth shows active volcanoes, Io, one of Jupiter’s moons, shows volcanoes that are erupting.
  9. The caldera is the term used for the circular depression formed at the summit of a volcano after a large eruption. Caldera, is Spanish for “kettle.”. Once a big eruption takes place, the volcano collapses in on itself and spews out gases, lava and ash that flow down from the edges of the circular depression or caldera.
  10. The largest caldera is the La Garita Caldera in Colorado which was formed 26-28 million years ago and was one of the largest eruptions if not the largest on Earth.
  11. Our entire world is threatened by what is known as Pacific Ring of Fire. It is actually a volcano string around Pacific Ocean’s perimeter. The Pacific Ring of Fire is responsible for giving some of the world’s deadliest eruptions. This is the area where several tectonic plates move beneath each other.
  12. The Pacific Ring of Fire houses 452 volcanoes that cover 75% of world’s total dormant and active volcanoes above sea level.
  13. The material ejected from a volcano is called “pyroclastic flow” from the Greek pyro (fire) and I (broken) refering to an avalanche of volcanic gases, rock fragments, pumice and hot ash rushing down the slopes of a volcano. It can have amazing speed of 100 kilometers per hour with temperature exceeding 500 degree Celsius.
  14. Volcanoes can dramatically impact global climate as it releases huge amounts ash that gets trapped in atmosphere and prevents sun rays from reaching the earth resulting in a temperature drop. The acid that is released by volcanic eruptions destroys the ozone layer, letting in harmful UV rays of sun to earth. These eruptions also release massive amounts of carbon dioxide leading to greenhouse effect increasing the temperature.
  15. Ash and gases spewed by volcanic eruptions can color sunsets because the material adds more obstacles through which incoming sunlight has to pass before reaching our eyes. The effect accentuates the sky light toward the red end of the spectrum.
  16. About 20% of all volcanoes are under water.
  17. Japan has 10% of the world’s active volcanoes.
  18. Almost 80% of earth’s surface below or above sea level has volcanic origins.
  19. About 350 million or 1 in 20 people live within danger range of an active volcano.
  20. Over last 10,000 years, a total of 1,500 or more volcanoes have erupted. Of these, only about 20-30 erupt in any one year.
  21. World’s oldest and longest document activity is of Sicily’s Mount Etna. It has been active and erupted since 1500 B.C. It is Italy’s most active volcano and also the largest active volcano in Europe.
  22. Indonesia ranks first in terms of number of active volcanoes throughout history. Second position is taken by Japan while U.S. ranks third in the list.
  23. Klyuchevskaya Volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula is the largest active volcano in the Northern Hemisphere.
  24. There are no active volcanoes in Australia because it sits in the middle of a tectonic plate.
  25. Volcanoes form through subduction (when two tectonic plates smash against each other), mid-oceanic rift (when two plates drift apart), or in a hot spot (a weak spot in one of Earth’s plates).
  26. In A.D. 79, Vesuvius erupted violently, devastating the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum killing 16000 people. Eyewitness accounts of the time, recent excavations, and the preserved remains tell the full story of the eruption.
  27. During the past 400 years, nearly a quarter of a million people have been killed as a direct result of volcanic eruptions. Indirect aftereffects such as famine, climate change, and disease most likely have tripled that number.
  28. The eruption of Mount Tambora on Sumbawa island in Indonesia in 1815 is the biggest eruption recorded in history. The explosion for the eruption was heard on Sumatra Island more than 1200 miles away. The destruction was vast, with an estimated ejection volume of 38 cubic miles (160 km3) and a  death toll of more than 71,000 people. It created a massive sulfate dust cloud that fundamentally altered the planet’s climate for 3 years.
  29. The 1883 eruption of Krakatau in Indonesia is thought to have released 200 megatons of energy, the equivalent of 15,000 nuclear bombs. Even though the island was uninhabited, the eruption killed 36,000 people as the result of burning ash showers and huge tsunamis. It generated the loudest sound historically reported.
  30. The worst volcanic disaster of the twentieth century is considered to be the eruption of Mt. Pelée in 1902 on the island of Martinique in the Caribbean which killed 30,121 people. Only two people survived: a shoemaker living on the edge of the island and a prisoner who had been locked in a dungeon cell with thick stone walls.
  31. Mount St. Helens is North America’s most active volcano. During the 9 hours that Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, the volcano spewed about 540 million tons of ash over an area of more than 22,000 square miles causing the largest terrestrial landslide in recorded history, reducing the mountain’s summit by about 1,300 feet . The eruption had 500 times the power of an atomic bomb.
  32. The most dangerous volcano today is Popocatépetl, nicknamed El Popo, which is just 33 miles from Mexico City. El Popo is still active, sending thousands of tons of gas and ash into the air each year.
  33. World’s largest and active supervolcano is Yellowstone Caldera. On top of the Caldera is the Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone supervolcano erupted thousands of years ago but till date fuels nearly 10,000 hot springs and geysers which is about 50 % of world’s visible geothermal activity.
  34. In Hawaii you will find two mountains , Mauna Lao and Mauna Kea which are massive volcanoes covering almost entire Hawaii.
  35. Mauna Kea measures 4,205 meters above sea level. However, the height of the mountain when measured from the ocean floor is 10,210 meters making it the highest mountain in this world even larger then Mount Everest.
  36. The most active volcano on Earth is Mount Yasur on Tanna Island, part of the archipelago nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. It has been erupting nearly continuously for 111 years.
  37. The Volcano can scream just before exploding. Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano erupted in 2009 but right before erupting, the volcano started screaming forewarning the danger.
  38. The volcanoes can appear all of a sudden from the middle of nowhere. Example is Paricutin, the Mexican volcano in 1943. A long crack in the ground was followed by rumbling noises and rising earth with ash and sulfur coming out. The volcano rose to 165 meters within 24 hours and 230 meters within a week. The lava flow gradually consumed a town named San Juan. It kept erupting for 9 years rising to the height of 424 meters before it eventually died in 1952 covering 10 sq. mile of fertile land.
  39. Paricutin volcano is a monogenetic volcano which is a type of volcano that never erupts again once it dies. So, Paricutin will never erupt again.
  40. The volcano’s called Ol Doinyo Lengai located in Tanzania spews out a type of lava which geologists often call as ‘lava from another planet’. It is 2,200 meters tall and spews out ‘black lava’ which is carbonatite substance similar to dark mud. It is cooler than usual lava and its temperature can reach a maximum of 540℃. When the volcano erupts the lava usually cools while in air and falls down in form of glass shreds.
  41. The black sand beaches in Iceland and Hawaii are formed by grains of black volcanic glass.
  42. Iceland is made up almost entirely of volcanic rocks like those found on the ocean floor. It gradually built up above sea level through intense and prolonged eruptions.
  43. The southernmost active volcano on the planet is Antarctica’s Mount Erebus. It is also home to Earth’s only long lived lava lakes.
  44. Java’s volcano known as Ijen is in the area which has very high volcanic activity resulting in high sulfur concentration. The area is also known to have some of the most lethal acid lakes in the world due to sulfur turning to sulphuric acid.
  45. In the crater of the volcano Ijen is the lake Kawah Ijen, which is the world’s most lethal and largest acidic lake which can eat up metals.
  46. In 1982 scientists came up with what is known as VEI or Volcanic Explosivity Index which is used to determine the power of a volcanic eruption. The VEI runs from 0 to 8.
  47. Eruptions with VEI 0-2 occur weekly or even daily. A category 3 volcanic eruption will shoot out ashes up to 15 kilometers high in sky. These eruptions usually occur once a year. Scale 4-5 are volcanic eruptions that take place once every few decades or centuries. Volcanic ash can shoot up up to 25 kilometers in sky.
  48. Scale 6-7 are called colossal eruptions and super-colossal eruptions respectively which will shoot out lava bombs traveling well over hundred miles or more, cause tsunamis and more!
  49. There is a type of volcanic rock known as pumice. This rock is the only type of rock on Earth that can float on water. Typical pumice will have numerous bubbly holes. These holes are created when the rock cools and hot gases get out of the rock in form of jets.
  50. In 1883 the Krakatoa volcano erupted and was a category 6 explosion. It killed 36,417 people by thermal trauma and tsunamis.
  51. 8 on the VEI scale is a mega-colossal explosion at least 100 times more powerful than a category 6 eruption. There hasn’t been any VEI-8 explosion in last 10000 years. VEI-8 can end most of our world.
  52. One of the biggest eruptions ever occurred about 30 million years ago in what is today eastern Nevada and western Utah, when a supervolcano exploded 3500 cubic kilometers of magma over an area of about 12,000 square miles. It left behind deposits of debris 13,000 feet deep. It was a VEI-8 eruption.
  53. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming sits on the site of an ancient supervoclano of grade VEI-7. It erupted around 2 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago, and 640,000 years ago. If it follows the same pattern, another eruption is due any time now.
  54. Other VEI-7 explosions have taken place so far , one in 74,000 B.C. in Sumatra , Indonesia and one in 24,500 B.C. in Taupo New Zealand.
  55. Volcanologists use a special electric thermometer called a “thermocouple” to take a volcano’s temperature. Lava is so hot that a glass thermometer would melt.
  56. Scientists believe that all the water on the earth was originally vented into the atmosphere by volcanoes.
  57. There is an endangered bird species known as the Maleo which is the only known bird species on earth that uses geothermal energy from the volcanoes to incubate the eggs which are 5 times bigger than chicken eggs. The mama bird seeks out exposed volcanic areas where the eggs can hatch using the geothermal energy from the volcanoes.
  58. Before the Panama Canal opened in 1915, rival proposals for an Atlantic–Pacific link included a plan to carve a canal through Nicaragua, which had a lot more fresh water and much less deadly malaria than Panama but it also had significant volcanic activity which resulted in Panama getting the vote.
  59. Cerro Negro, a new and very active volcano that first erupted in 1850 and has blown 23 times since, most recently in 1999 has a black pebble covered slopes you can surf down on a metal-bottomed wood board.
  60. Surtsey, one of Earth’s newest islands, was dramatically formed in 1963 by underwater volcanic eruptions. Surtsey Island, which lies off the southwest coast of Iceland.

By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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