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Science Fun!

What is a Volcano?

There are 1,500 active volcanoes worldwide. Many others are dormant, or "sleeping." These volcanoes haven't erupted in a long time. Some may never erupt again. Then there are the extinct volcanoes. They fizzled out thousands or even millions of years ago. All kinds of volcanoes - active, dormant, or extinct are important. Volcanoes made up 80 percent of our Earth's surface. Most of our fertile soils came from volcanoes.

A volcano is a place on the Earth's surface (or any other planet's or moon's surface) where molten rock, gases and fragmented debris erupt through the earth's crust. When pressure builds up, these eruptions occur. Gases and rock shoot up through the opening and spill over or fill the air with lava fragments. Eruptions can cause lateral blasts, lava flows, hot ash flows, mudslides, avalanches, falling ash and floods. Volcano eruptions have been known to take down entire forests. An erupting volcano can trigger tsunamis, flash floods, earthquakes, mudflows and rockfalls. Volcanoes vary quite a bit in their structure - some are cracks in the earth's crust where lava erupts, and some are domes, shields, or mountain-like structures with a crater at the summit.

Read more about Volcanoes in today’s Science Fun!

Click HERE to download this activity as a printable PDF.

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