13 Volcano Facts

by Deb on April 29, 2010

I’ve decided to stick with the theme for this week.

  1. Little Ice Age – there was heightened volcanic activity during the Little Ice Age, from the 16th-19th centuries.  It certainly contributed to the cold weather, because ash and chemicals from eruptions blocks and reflects sunlight and has a noticeable cooling effect.  However they could have both been caused by something else.
  2. Little Ice Age

  3. Vesuvius – Mt Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 burying Pompeii.  It seems that there were foreshocks for several years, however the eruption itself caught people by surprise, which is why they have been preserved beautifully.  Most of the people who died actually suffocated because of the poisonous gases from the volcano, not from being buried in the ash.
  4. The Garden of the Fugitives - casts of people who died

  5. Olympus Mons – on Mars, probably the solar system’s largest volcano it is 550km wide and 21km high.  It is so large because Mars does not have tectonic activity, the crust has remained over a hot spot for millions of years and the volcano has grown through many eruptions.
  6. Topography map of Olympus Mons on Mars

  7. Io – the most geologically active body in the solar system.  It is the closest of the four Galilean (large) moons of Jupiter and is so active because of its elliptical orbit.  As it gets closer and further away from Jupiter gravity pulls it and forms changing tidal bulges, the movement causes friction which creates heat.  The volcanoes shoot out sulfur and sulfur dioxide, some of which escapes the moon and drifts to its sister moons.  It has mountains taller than Mt Everest.
  8. Volcanoes visible on Io

  9. Lunar maria – these are not strictly volcanoes, but they are volcanic in origin.  They are the large flat structures we can see that make up the face/rabbit/man in the moon.  Mare is latin for sea.  They are only found on the face we see – the far side is mountainous.  The earth’s gravity has pulled the radio-active elements that produce heat closer to our side of the moon, and in the past enormous basaltic lava flows covered a large part of the near surface.  This lava solidified into the dark, flat maria.
  10. The dark areas are the lunar Maria.

  11. Kimberley diamonds – over a billion years ago the Kimberley in northern Western Australia was not attached to the same continent, but sat on a different tectonic plate.  When it collided with what would later become Australia, there was intense volcanic and earthquake activity, as there is today at plate margins.  The diamonds come from a volcanic pipe, the result of an immense eruption from a deep volcano, at least 3 times as deep as other volcanoes.
  12. False colour image - the mine is in blue.

  13. Hawaii – the Hawaiian archipelago shows the gradual drift of the tectonic plate it rides on.  Deep in the earth is a hot spot, as the Pacific plate drifts northwest new volcanoes are formed by the rising magma.  As the northern islands are the oldest volcanoes, they have been eroded the most and are the smallest islands.  Even further northwest are the older volcanoes that no longer reach the surface, the chain of the Emporer Seamounts.  The islands themselves are only the tips of the volcanoes, most is underwater.
  14. The archipelago shows how the Pacific plate has moved over the hotspot

  15. A’a and Pahoehoe – there are three main types of lava, two are named with Hawaiian words a’a and pahoehoe.  A’a (uh-uh) is stony, rough lava and is around 1000-1100 degrees C.  Pahoehoe (p-hoi-hoi) is smoother and flows more, it is usually around 1100-1200 degrees C.  The third type of lava is pillow lava, and usually forms under water or ice.
  16. A'a

  17. Pele’s tears – Pele is a Hawaiian fire goddess (are we sensing a theme here?) and Pele’s tears are solidified droplets of volcanic glass, formed when they are shot into the air and solidiy.  There is also Pele’s hair, formed when long thin strands of lava are whipped about by the wind, and Pele’s seaweed (limu o Pele), formed when water touches lava and instantly boils, forming bubbles.
  18. Pele's Tears (dime for size comparison)
    Pele's Hair
    Limu o Pele, Pele's Seaweed

  19. Krakatoa – is a volcanic Indonesian island in the Sunda straight.  When it erupted in 1883 it was one of the biggest eruptions in recorded history, the explosion was heard in Perth, WA, 3110 km away and Rodrigues near Mauritius, 5000km away.  The eruption was caused by sea water getting into the incredibly hot magma chamber, it boiled instantly but was contained by the chamber, hence the explosion.  It was the equivalent of 13000 of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima.
  20. Krakatoa before the eruption, which destroyed most of the island

  21. Tambora – An active volcano in Indonesia, near Krakatoa where the Australian and Asian tectonic plates meet.  Its eruption in 1815 is considered the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history and also the deadliest, with a death toll of at least 71,000 people.  There was so much dust and gases put into the atmosphere that it blocked and reflected sunlight, causing the temperature in the northern hemisphere to drop by 0.5 degrees and ‘the year without a summer.’  The extreme cold disrupted harvests and killed livestock, leading to widespread famine.
  22. Deccan Traps – the Deccan traps in India are one of the largest volcanic features on earth.  They formed between 60-68 million years ago, but may have taken as little as 30,000 years.  They are estimated to have been half the size of modern India, although they are smaller today.  They were most probably formed by the Reunion mantle plume when India was close to Africa.  The amount of poisonous gases released and the resulting drop in temperature of up to 2 degrees C would have been a major stressor on life and could have contributed to the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs.
  23. Eyjafjallajökull and Katla – these are two volcanoes in Iceland covered by glaciers.  They are linked, eruptions in Eyjafjallajökull usually mean an eruption is coming in Katla.  Katla is dangerous because eruptions melt the glacier and cause enormous floods, and it is thought to be responsible for 6-7 cubic kilometres of volcanic ash from 10,600 years ago.  An eruption of this size could halt air travel for years as the dust is carried around the world and have a major effect on climate.  Katla usually erupts every 40-80 years, but has not had a major eruption since 1918 with minor eruptions in 1955 and 1999.  Now that Eyjafjallajökull has erupted it is expected to erupt ‘when’, not ‘if.’
  24. Eyjafjallajokull erupting in 2010

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

amandab April 29, 2010 at 10:09 am

Why are kids so fascinated by volcanoes?

I mentioned yesterday that Princess has a thing for Mount Vesuvius, and we were very lucky to have gone to see the Pompeii exhibition at thne Melbourne Museum last year, which included a great short 3D film about the eruption of Vesuvius. We were a bit worried about it before it began, but she really enjoyed it. She wan’t very interested in most of the exhibition but was really taken with the body casts (“I want to see the dead people, Mummy.”) which we had seen photos of previously.

Even earlier this week we were playing doctors and we had a problem in getting the right food and medicine for the patient because there had been a volcano that had wiped out the shops in the town. The doctor had to ring the next town to get the things delivered.

Maybe she had been tuning in to the events on the news, or maybe she just loves volcanoes.
.-= amandab´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – Belgian Chocolate Cups =-.


Hootin' Anni April 29, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Most educational and very interesting 13 today. Wow…I’m impressed. The photos along with the facts made it worth while too….great stuff you got going.

My thirteen is photos of historical homes in town. Come by to view if you’d like. I’d love your company today. My Tour
.-= Hootin’ Anni´s last blog .."History is a useless heap of facts…." =-.


Adelle Laudan April 29, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Some of those photos are stunning. I have a healthy fear of volcanoes lol
Great list. Happy T13!
.-= Adelle Laudan´s last blog .. =-.


CountryDew April 29, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Very educational and quite interesting. TImely too!
.-= CountryDew´s last blog ..Thursday Thirteen =-.


Harriet April 29, 2010 at 11:45 pm
colleen April 30, 2010 at 12:13 am

2. What a horrible way to die! 1. Reminds me of Holland. I was there about 10 years ago and heard that the canals haven’t frozen since 1960.

Thanks for pointing out my broken link. I played Wordless Wed yesterday and wondered why hardly anyone visited. It was broken there as well.


Brandt! April 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm

What a great blog! Thank you!


burn May 1, 2010 at 1:33 am

Nice information. I will link your blog in my other website which is http://mapeh.org. I could use some of your information for my lessons.

I hope that you will also link me up.
.-= burn´s last blog ..They can’t get rid of it =-.


jillconyers May 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

My son will love this!
.-= jillconyers´s last blog .. =-.


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