Source of Volcanic Heat
Name: John S.
Date: October 13, 2003
Where does the heat come from in a volcano?
That depends in part on the type of volcano and where it is located. Hawaiian volcanoes are
believed to be a result of "hot spot volcanism," where heat wells up from the Earth's
interior. These volcanoes usually occur in the middle of a plate, and it is almost as
if the Earth just has to vent the heat. Other volcanoes, like the Andean and Cascade
volcanoes, occur along plate margins where an oceanic plate subducts, or slides under,
a continental plate. Here, the rock subducts to a depth where pressure causes the rock
to melt, and that melted rock rises toward the surface, perhaps resulting in an eruption
and a volcano.
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Update: June 2012