When you think about volcanoes and volcanic eruptions, you might be picturing the biggest and most dangerous volcanic eruptions that break the news. Volcanic eruptions can be massive and bring a lot of devastating effects on the people that live close by. Not all eruptions are this way, however. There are a number of active volcanoes around the world that erupt every so often. These volcanic eruptions may not be devastating to human and plant life and human settlements. Scientists have done a lot of work to understand better when and how these volcanoes erupt.
The Formation and Eruption of a Volcano
Beneath the surface of the Earth, at the core is extremely hot molten metal. The temperatures there are so hot—in the thousand-degree range—that no life could survive. This extreme heat and pressure can become so great that an outlet is needed. Volcanic eruptions are in essence a way for the Earth to vent out into the atmosphere.
Volcanoes look like mountains, but they are structured much different. A volcano can be seen as a vent in the Earth’s crust. During an eruption, there is a release of various substances from the Earth’s magma chamber. These include lava, volcanic ash, rocks, steam, and many other gases. Many of these gases are somewhat toxic. Volcanoes are found mostly where the continental plates are colliding or pulling apart. In these areas, there is an inherent weakness in the Earth’s crust and vibration activities happening underneath.
Like mountains, volcanoes form over long periods of time. While mountains are basically a heap of rock or sand, volcanoes are made up of a similar heat of rock and sand, together with lava, ash, and other substances, which have built up over time.
The most active volcanoes on the planet include Hawaii’s Kilauea. This volcano is found on Big Island. Its eruptions have happened quite often in the last 30 years. in fact, the Kilauea is in a state of constant eruption. Lava coming out of the volcano flows down into the sea and hardens to form rock. As a result, the island has been slowly expanding over the last few decades. The volcanic eruptions from Kilauea can be quite massive. This volcano can throw ash into the sky as high as 10,000 feet. Its activity also triggers tiny earthquakes. In 2018, the eruptions of the Kilauea caused authorities to issue warnings and evacuate the nearby populations.
Another active volcano is found in the Philippines. This is Mount Mayon. Its last eruption was in January 2018 and before then in 2014. Unlike other phenomena on the planet such as hurricanes and storms, it can be difficult to predict when a volcano might erupt. Similar to earthquakes, volcanoes do not always give enough signs that something is going to happen. The Philippines government ordered evacuations in 2018 when the volcano started letting out ash, rocks, mud, and eventually lava.
A third active volcano found on the planet is Cotopaxi in Ecuador. This volcano is found in the Cordillera Central mountain range that is in central Ecuador. The Cotopaxi is among the tallest volcanoes on Earth. It has a height of 19,393 feet. Ecuador has other volcanoes, but this is the most active one of them all. Since the 16th century, the Cotopaxi has erupted over 50 times. Many of these were quite violent. The most recent of these eruptions happened as far back as 1904. In 2005, there was a scare as well. One of the crucial factors about this volcano is that it is found near a densely populated of Ecuador. Such volcanoes are capable of much more damage than volcanoes in remote locations.