Volcanoes have captured the imaginations of humanity for a very long time. From ancient times to today, volcanoes have made themselves very apparent and common in popular cultures. Add to it the charm and hype of the media, and you have a natural feature that has become an aspect of public interest throughout the world. The amazing facts about volcanoes are not only interesting but a great way to understand and learn about Earth and solar system.
We know a lot about volcanoes. But at the same time, theystill happen to hold much knowledge in them, which we are yet to learn.
Given in the list below are ten amazing facts aboutvolcanoes that you will probably find interesting and fascinating.
10. Volcanoes Exist Wherever the Plates of the Earth Meet
One of the most interesting things about volcanoes is theirlocation.
Volcanoes exist where the tectonic plates of the earth meet.Given that the plates of the earth constantly move, the gaps between themprovide a convenient place for the hot magma to get exposed to the surface andsometimes shoot up in the iconic way that volcanic eruptions are known to thegeneral public.
The tectonic plate movements not just create volcanoes but also other topographic entities such as mountains, ocean trenches, and mid-ocean ridges. Most of the active volcanoes in the world are along the plate boundaries.
9. There Are a Chain of Volcanoes in the Pacific Called the Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ocean has numerous locations where tectonicmovements are the most active. This has resulted in the entire region becominga hotbed for volcanic activity.
There are in fact numerous islands all across the Pacific which is collectively referred to as the Ring of Fire. Plate movements, oceanic trenches, and volcanic belts are responsible for the Ring of Fire. They are active in earthquakes and volcanism. The Ring of Fire covers an area of 40,000 km that has the shape of a horseshoe. It stretches from Chile to New Zealand. 90% of all the earthquakes (including large earthquakes) occur along the Ring of Fire. Several large volcanic eruptions happen along this region. Sometimes it is called a circum-Pacific belt which has over 400 volcanoes (both active and inactive).
They are, in simple words, some of the most active volcanicregions on the planet and can exist both above the ground, as well as below it.
8. There Are Three Kinds of Volcanoes in the World
Although volcanoes can vary in their shape, size, and othercharacteristics, one of the best ways to classify volcanoes is based on theiractivity.
There are three classifications under this method, namely,active, dormant and extinct.
An active volcano is one which is ‘active’ and can erupt atany time. A dormant volcano is one which isn’t active, but at the same time hasthe potential to erupt in the future. An extinct volcano is one which isbelieved to have closed up permanently, to the point where it is nothing morethan a mountain.
There are, of course, other definitions used to classify avolcano, such as those based on height or shape. But, these are the most commonset of definitions used to define types of volcanoes.
7. Volcanoes Are Not Exclusive To Earth Alone
Volcanoes are not exclusive to the earth alone. On thecontrary, they are found all over the solar system, and beyond.
The reason for this is because they exist wherever a planet has a liquid core, characterized by hot magma and other forms of molten liquid matter. And given that they all have tectonic plates that keep moving about, every once in a while, a volcanic eruption happens when the conditions be ideal for that to happen.
One can find volcanoes on almost all major planets and moons in the solar system. Even outside our solar system, scientists have found large shield volcanoes. According to a National Geographic report, an exo-planet called 55 Cancri may have active volcanoes on its surface.
6. The Tallest Volcano in the Solar System Is On Mars
One of the most active volcanoes in the solar system can befound on Mars.
Called Olympus Mons, it is taller than Mount Everest by more than two times and is an active volcano. The mountain was first discovered in 1971 by the Mariner 9 spacecraft. It is the second largest mountain ever discovered in our solar system. It is the tallest volcanic mountain in the solar system.
The volcano is said to have a height of about 22 km,according to the measurements by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter.
It should be noted that Olympus Mons is not the only activevolcano on the planet. On the contrary, Mars has numerous volcanoes all acrossits surface and many of them are extremely tall.
5. Volcanic Eruptions Can Result In the Formation of New Land
The eruption of volcanoes often result in the creation of new land. This is particularly true in the case of oceanic volcanoes, whose magma cools around the volcano’s base and solidifies. Once the lava is ejected from the earth’s surface, the waters around the eruption cause it to cool down and solidify.
Eventually, the volcanic eruption results in the formationof a vast solid surface on which seeds and other vegetation begin to grow. It won’tbe long before the vegetation attracts animals and the place turns into anisland just like any other.
Also interesting to note is that the newly created soiloften tends to be very fertile and produce a great abundance of crops.
The most recent land formation due to volcanoes is SholanIsland and Jadid Island due to underground volcanic activity inthe Red Sea. Sholan Island formed in 2011 and Jadid Island in 2013. These twoislands belong to Yemen. Even the Hawaiian Islands were formed from volcanicactivities.
4. Volcanic Eruptions Have Decimated Human Populations in The Past
The destructive power of volcanoes is apparent when onelooks the way they have decimated human populations.
One of the most famous of such volcanic eruptions is the one that took place in Pompeii, in Italy. Even today, there are many remains of an ancient city that can be found across the region. Also, the region overlooks an active volcano called Vesuvius, which could erupt in the future. The eruptions from this dangerous volcano destroyed the ancient cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, and Stabiae. Over 1,000 people were killed due to the eruption in AD 79. Today, this is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.
Much more recently, there have been many eruptions ofvolcanoes in places like Hawaii, where it has caused damage to human life,infrastructure and so on.
3. One of Jupiter’s Moons, Is Filled With Volcanoes
There is a moon of Jupiter called Io. It is one of the most geologically active bodies in the solar system. With over 400 active volcanoes dotting the moon’s surface, it has an enormous potential for volcanic eruptions at any given moment. Many of these large volcanoes produce sulfur and sulfur dioxide which can climb to a height of more than 500 km from the surface. The sulfur from the volcanoes paints the surface of Io in shades of yellow, green, black, and red.
2. Volcanic Tubes Are Filled With Diamonds
Due to the Earth’s heat and pressure diamonds are formeddeep inside the earth’s crust. When a volcano erupts, it brings these diamondsfrom these vast depths. A rare type of magma known as kimberlite is a type ofrock containing several volcanic debris, minerals, and diamond. Kimberlite getsthe name from the South African town, Kimberley. This was the town where an 83.5-carat(16.70 g) diamond in 1869 caused a diamond-rush.
A volcano tube is essentially a tube where lava is known toflow. Given that the lava often carries with it diamonds, one can expect tofind a lot of diamonds, even jewelry grade, within these tubes.
1. The Term Volcano Is Derived From Roman Mythology
The term Volcano is derived from Roman mythology. A volcanic island on the Aeolian Island was first named as Vulcano. This term derives its root from Vulcan, the Roman God of Fire. Every Aug 23, a festival with the name Vulcanalia happens to celebrate and honor him.
As a whole, it can be said without doubt that volcanoes are one of the most stunning creations of nature. From their stunning appearance to destructive power, they are an element of the natural world that is not to be ignored.