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The Volcanoes Portal

Mount St. Helens

A volcano is an opening, or rupture, in a planet's surface or crust, which allows hot, molten rock, ash, and gases to escape from below the surface. Violent explosive eruptions from such vents often produce craters or calderas and coat extensive areas in volcanic ash, while the lava from comparatively gentle effusive eruptions may eventually form large plains, cones or mountains.

Volcanoes are generally found where tectonic plates are pulled apart or come together. A mid-oceanic ridge, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, hosts volcanoes caused by divergent tectonic plates pulling apart; the Pacific Ring of Fire contains many volcanoes caused by convergent tectonic plates coming together. By contrast, volcanoes are not commonly created at transform boundaries, where two tectonic plates slide past one another.

Volcanoes can be caused by mantle plumes. The resulting hotspots, for example at Hawaii, can occur far from plate boundaries. Hotspot volcanoes are also found elsewhere in the solar system, especially on rocky planets and moons. Intraplate volcanoes can also form where there is stretching and thinning of the Earth's crust, as in the Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field and the Rio Grande Rift in North America and the European Rhine Graben with its Eifel volcanoes.

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Triton (/ˈtrtən/, or as in Greek Τρίτων), is the largest moon of the planet Neptune, discovered on October 10, 1846 by William Lassell. It is the only large moon in the Solar System with a retrograde orbit, which is an orbit in the opposite direction to its planet's rotation. At 2,700 km in diameter, it is the seventh-largest moon in the Solar System. Triton comprises more than 99.5% of all the mass known to orbit Neptune, including the planet's rings and twelve other known moons. It is also more massive than all the Solar System's 159 known smaller moons combined.

Because of its retrograde orbit (unique for an object of its size) and similar composition to Pluto, Triton is thought to have been captured from the Kuiper belt. Triton consists of a crust of frozen nitrogen over an icy mantle believed to cover a substantial core of rock and metal. The core makes up two-thirds of its total mass. Triton has a mean density of 2.061 g/cm3 and is composed of approximately 15–35% water ice.

Triton is geologically active; its surface is young and has relatively few impact craters. Although Triton is made of various ices, its subsurface processes are similar to those that produce volcanoes and rift valleys on Earth, but with water and ammonia lavas as opposed to liquid rock. Triton's entire surface is cut by complex valleys and ridges, probably the result of tectonics and icy volcanism.

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Johnston, 13 hours before he was killed by the St. Helens eruption
David Alexander Johnston (December 18, 1949 – May 18, 1980) was a volcanologist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS); he was killed by the 1980 eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington. He was killed while manning an observation post about 6 miles (10 km) from the volcano on the morning of May 18, 1980. He was the first to report the eruption, transmitting the famous message "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!" before being swept away by the lateral blast created by the collapse of the mountain's north flank. Ham radio operator Jerry Martin observed the lateral blast overtaking Johnston's camp. Though Johnston's remains have never been found, remnants of his USGS trailer were found by state highway workers in 1993.

Johnston was the only geologist with the USGS to correctly predict the nature of the eruption. The official USGS prediction was that the volcano would experience a conventional vertical column eruption, while Johnston (who had been doing extensive research on the volcano and the geologic forces at play within and around it) had proposed that the blast would be lateral and originate from the bulge which he had observed developing on the side of the mountain.

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The Volcano

Volcanoes topics

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Core topics: Volcano  • Volcanology  • Igneous petrology  • Lava  • Magma  • Decade Volcanoes  • List of volcanoes  • Plate tectonics  • Hotspot

Types of volcanoes: Fissure vent  • Shield volcano  • Lava dome  • Cinder cone  • Stratovolcano  • Supervolcano  • Submarine volcano  • Subglacial volcano  • Mud volcano

Types of eruptions: (Overview)  • Strombolian  • Vulcanian  • Peléan  • Hawaiian  • Surtseyan  • Plinian  • Submarine  • Subglacial  • Phreatic

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View at dusk, June 1983
Credit: G.E. Ulrich, USGS

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is a cinder/spatter cone in the eastern rift zone of the Kīlauea volcano of the Hawaiian Islands. Puʻu ʻŌʻō has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983, making it the longest-lived rift-zone eruption of the last two centuries. From 1983 through 1998, lava from Puʻu ʻŌʻō covered more than 97 km² (37 square miles).

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Now an extinct volcano is not quite so safe a neighbour as many may suppose. Vesuvius was an extinct volcano from time immemorial till the year 63, when it suddenly broke out again, and soon after destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum; since which time it has never again subsided into entire inactivity.

— A possible event — dangers of our planet, The National Magazine, November 1854, p. 435

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The current Project collaboration is Mount Shasta.

The project collaboration is a drive to improve our coverage of an important volcano-related topic. Once the article has been improved significantly, a new collaboration is chosen. Please improve the article any way you can.




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Featured articles: 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens  • 2007–2008 Nazko earthquakes  • Amchitka  • Armero tragedy  • Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve  • Cerro Azul (Chile volcano)  • David A. Johnston  • Enceladus (moon)  • Geology of the Lassen volcanic area  • Io (moon)  • Loihi Seamount  • Mauna Kea  • Mauna Loa  • Metacomet Ridge  • Mono-Inyo Craters  • Mount Cayley volcanic field  • Mount St. Helens  • Mount Tambora  • Nevado del Ruiz  • Surtsey  • The Volcano (British Columbia)  • Triton (moon)  • Upper and Lower Table Rock  • Volcanism on Io  • Volcano (South Park)  • Yellowstone National Park

Featured lists: List of volcanoes in Indonesia  • List of volcanoes in the Hawaiian – Emperor seamount chain  • List of largest volcanic eruptions

Featured pictures: There are currently 43 volcano-related Featured pictures. A full gallery can be seen here.

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Good articles: Abyssal plain  • Amak Volcano  • Anahim hotspot  • Axial Seamount  • Ben Nevis  • Bowie Seamount  • Crater Lake  • Davidson Seamount  • Ferdinandea  • Gareloi Volcano  • Geyser  • Glacier Peak  • Hawaii hotspot  • Hualālai  • Kohala (mountain)  • Lake Toba  • Minoan eruption  • Mount Adams (Washington)  • Mount Bailey  • Mount Baker  • Mount Cleveland (Alaska)  • Mount Edziza volcanic complex  • Mount Garibaldi  • Mount Hood  • Mount Kenya  • Mount Rainier  • Mount Redoubt  • Mount Tehama  • Mount Thielsen  • Mount Vesuvius  • Peter I Island  • Roxy Ann Peak  • Rùm  • Sakurajima  • Sangay  • Silverthrone Caldera  • Staffa  • Types of volcanic eruptions  • Volcanic ash  • Weh Island  • Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field  • Yamsay Mountain

Valued pictures: A gallery of volcano-related valued pictures can be seen here.

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