How are volcanoes formed? During the last decade, more and more scientists have become interested in volcanology. Researches are conducted in order to minimize the damage caused by catastrophic accidents, such as eruption in Iceland in 2010 which paralyzed Europe and made almost irreparable financial damage to airline companies worldwide. Therefore, it is necessary to overcome our lack of knowledge about these neighbors we’re sharing our planet with.
In nonprofessional terms, a volcano is a tube running down all the way to the Earth’s core or underground magma deposits. Depending on the magma composition (level of silica in magma) there are different types of eruptions – and related to those – different types of volcanoes.
Earth’s crust consists of several tectonic plates that have played an important role in shaping our home as we know it today, and they are in slow but constant move. When two plates collide or their movements create a gap, molten lava can break to the surface, creating a volcano. There are several types of volcanoes: shield volcanoes, strato-volcanoes and caldera volcanoes.
A Shield volcano is a spilling-lava type of a volcano. After innumerable eruptions, every time when lava cools off, a new material is added to a volcano, creating in this way a cone-like mountain with a flattened top where the crater is.
A Strato-volcano is the most dangerous one. Its eruptions are very violent containing much more ash material. When eruptions occur, the nature’s destructive power is often seen destroying everything in its vicinity. Highly viscous magma in its underground storage isn’t very hot comparing to other types; therefore, upper layers tend to cool off and to clog a way up. When the pressure rises to the point that storage can’t hold up, magma breaks through this clog and surges up. Containing ash and lots of gases, this eruption wreaks havoc on everything around.
Caldera volcanoes are volcanoes that have collapsed. During the eruption, this volcano vomits everything in its storage so it is empty. Because of the pressure from above, everything collapses into this storage creating a bowl-like volcano. When this type of a volcano is formed under the ocean, the results can be tsunamis that affect regions miles away.
These old giants have been here from the beginning and they’ve been changing constantly. Every day we can find out a little more about them; however, our knowledge is still limited – we just know how they are formed. We don’t know when and where they will erupt, but we are getting closer to some new discoveries day by day.