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Sumatra Indonesia, Mount Sinabung an erupting stratovolcano, displays its power in this picture taken on January 2014 by Marc Szeglat. In this photo you see the ash cloud and some of the lava flow, but the volcanic lightning that flashes purple sets this picture off. How does an eruption work? Let’s find out as we dive into the underworld of volcanoes.
To understand volcanoes, we must start with the basics. What is a volcano? According to the American Heritage dictionary it is an opening in the earth’s crust through which moment lava, ash, and gases are ejected. Volcanoes are divided into three types, by how much activity they show. Those three types are active, extinct, and dormant. If a volcano is active it means there is a possibility of eruption at any time. Extinct volcanoes are those that have not erupted in a long time and probably will not erupt again. Dormant volcanoes are those who have not erupted in a very long time.
While volcanoes can be shaped differently on the outside, there internal structures are basically the same. The inside of a volcano is composed of three basic elements in magma chamber, a conduit, and the vent. The magma chamber is where the molten rock is stored, under extreme pressure. The conduit is a canal through which the magma rises to the surface. The vent is what allows the magma and gases to escape.

An eruption occurs when the magma chamber builds pressure, pushing the molten rock through the conduit and out the vent at the top. Once the magma reaches the surface it is renamed lava. How explosive an eruption is depends on a few factors. First factor would be the shape of the volcano. There are quite a few different shapes but here are three main shapes used, shield, cinder cone, and composite ...

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...s located in Italy. In 79 A.D. its catastrophic eruption destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, killing thousands. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried those cities under numerous meters of ash .

Volcanoes seem to have two jobs. They are the wrecking ball of the land, bringing death and destruction. They can also be the builders of new land. With volcanoes like Mount Vesuvius and Mauna Loa, they give us an ever-changing Earth.

Works Cited

Volcano." Def. 1. The American Heritage Dictionary. Third ed. New York, NY: Dell Pub., 1994. 901. Print.
"General Information about Hawaiian Shield Volcanoes." General Information about Hawaiian Shield Volcanoes. Ed. Ken Rubin. University of Hawaii, n.d. Web. 03 May 2014. .
Rosi, Mauro. "Somma, Vesuvius, Italy." Volcanoes. Toronto: Firefly, 2003. 106-09. Print.
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