10 Facts for Kids About Volcanoes

Searching for trivia about volcanoes? Are you a teacher preparing a lesson plan on volcanoes? Here are a few fun facts about volcanoes.

Everyday, somewhere on Earth, a volcano erupts.

Believe it or not, a volcano is probably erupting as you read this article. Fortunately, most of the volcanic eruptions are underwater. There are about 5,000 active underwater volcanoes, also known as seamounts. Sometimes the lava from seamounts will form into islands.

There are four types of land volcanoes.

Scientists have divided volcanoes into four different types. They are shield, cinder cone, composite and lava dome. Shield volcanoes have dull, broad slopes and are shaped like a shield. One example is Kilauea as seen here.

A cinder cone volcano is shaped like a mountain, with a wide hole at the top. The most active cinder cone volcano is Cerra Negro is Nicaragua. Click here to see it during an eruption.

Composite volcanoes are also called stratovolcanoes. They have a crater at the top which has a vent, or a cluster of vents. One well known composite volcano is Mt. St. Helens. Watch this video here of the eruption on May 18, 1980. Some other examples of composite volcanoes are Mt. Fuji in Japan, Mt. Hood in Oregon, and Mt. Rainer in Washington.

Lava domes are created after a volcanic eruption. The lava surrounds the vent of the volcano, forming a crater. They are commonly found on composite volcanoes. Mt. Pelee in the West Indies is one example. Watch a video about it here.

Even in frigid Antarctica, there is an active volcano.

Mount Erebus has been erupting for a very long time. It is surrounding by ice in Antarctica. It is the southernmost active volcano on Earth.

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The land around a volcano after an eruption is usually very fertile.

Farmland that has been covered in volcanic ash is very fertile. The is one of the reasons why people will live next to a volcano, even though others see it as a time bomb. Crops usually do very well in the years following a volcanic eruption.

There are three types of volcanic eruptions.

Scientists have determined there are three types of volcanic eruptions: Hawaiian, Strombolian, and Plinian.

Hawaiian eruptions create runny, thin lava. They are beautiful and majestic. Watch this clip here to see it in action.

Strombolian eruptions produce heavy rocks, ask, smoke and lava. They are significantly mower powerful that Hawaiian eruptions and cause more damage.

Plinian eruptions are the most destructive. They usually do not produce lava, but emit deadly lava fragments, ash and gas. It destroys nearly everything in its path.

Some volcanic eruptions affect the entire world.

In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted, caused lots of death and destruction. Also, world temperatures dropped slightly. The pollution from the volcano caused the lowering of temperatures for a few years. Many harvests in the area failed because of the pollution and colder weather.

The most deadly volcanic eruption in American history happened on Mt. St. Helens in 1980.

Mt. St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. Sixty people were killed by the rocks, hot gases and ash. The ash covered an area of about 230 square miles. Hundreds of homes were destroyed. Miles of highways, roads, and railways were damaged. Even entire forests were knocked over like matchsticks.

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Electricity can be made from the heat from volcanoes.

Heat from volcanoes is known as geothermal energy. It can be used to create electricity. Cold water is pumped down to the rocks. The rocks heat the water and it becomes steam. The steam is then piped to a power plant to make electricity.

Mudflows sometimes occur after an eruption.

Sometimes the mud on the sides of the volcano will slide downhill as a mudflow. This contains tons of mud and travels extremely fast. Mudflows often destroy everything in its path.

About 500 million people live on or close to volcanoes.

About half a billion people around the world live very close to volcanoes. Some of these are active, but many aren’t.

These are just ten quick facts about volcanoes. Volcanoes produce beautiful shows, but create much sadness and destruction as well. For more insight, please read “Ten of the Most Destructive Volcanoes on Earth.”

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