17 explosive volcano facts!

Volcano facts

Is it just us or is it getting hot in here, gang? Get ready to delve into the depths of the earth and uncover these seriously hot volcano facts - if you dare!

Volcano facts

1. Put simply, a volcano is an opening (usually in a mountain) in the Earth's surface from which gas, hot magma and ash can escape.


2. The word "volcano" comes from the Roman name 'Vulcan' - the Roman god of fire.


3. Volcanoes are often found at meeting points of what are called "tectonic plates". These plates are pieces of the Earth's surface that fit together just like a jigsaw puzzle. 


4. Volcanoes aren't only found on the boundaries of tectonic plates, though. They can also occur over "mantle plumes" - super hot areas of rock inside the Earth.


5. 350 million, or one in 20 people in the world live within 'danger range' of an active volcano


Psst! Make sure you download our awesome volcano facts infographic - show your friends, family, or stick it on your wall!

Volcano facts

Popocatépetl volcano, Mexico

6. Volcanoes are classified as active, dormant or extinct depending on the amount of volcanic activity happening. 'Active' means there's regular activity, 'dormant' means there's been recent activity but that it's currently quiet and 'extinct', meaning it's been so long since the last eruption that it's unlikely to ever erupt again.


7. When you imagine a volcano, you might picture it as a large, slope-sided mountain, but volcanoes can actually be a variety of shapes. Shield (flat), composite (tall and thin), cinder cones (circular or oval cones), and lava domes (where dome-shaped deposits of hardened lava have built up around the vent, as the lava is too thick to flow very far).


8. Magma is the name given to hot liquid rock inside a volcano. Once it leaves the volcano, it's known as lava.


9. Volcanoes don't just occur on land, they can be found on the ocean floor and under ice caps, too! 


10. Lava can reach 1,250°C and has the potential to burn everything in its path! If you used a glass thermometer to take the temperature it would melt.


11. The world's largest active volcano is Mauna Loa in Hawaii standing at 4,169m!

Volcano facts

Parícutin volcano, Mexico

12. In A.D. 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted, devastating the Italian town of Pompeii. The ash deposits preserved the town and the remains of the people within it. You can still see them today! 


13. The 'Ring of Fire', a 40,000 km Horseshoe shaped area of the Pacific Ocean, is home to 90% of all volcanoes on the Earth.


14. About 1,900 volcanoes on Earth are considered active and are likely to explode again - yikes! 


15. In 1883 Krakatau in Southeast Asia erupted, releasing 200 megatrons of energy, the equivalent of 15,000 nuclear bombs! This generated the loudest sound reported in history.

Volcano facts

A satellite view of Pico do Fogo volcano, Cape Verde

16. The soil near volcanoes is said to be rich and fertile which is why some people actually set up home on the slopes!


17. And it's not just humans that settle on the slopes - maleo birds use the heat from volcanoes to help hatch their eggs! They bury the eggs in the soil or sand near to volcanoes. When the chicks hatch they claw their way up to the surface.

Check out this explosive video, full of exciting facts and information about volcanoes!

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