Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Inside a volcano
Name: GMAC
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999


Question:
What happens inside a volcano?


Replies:
Underneath active volcanoes are magma chambers, containing molten rock (magma). The magma is less dense than the solid rock surrounding it, and so the magma tends to rise to the surface through cracks or conduits in the solid rock.

Sometimes the magma contains large amounts of dissolved gasses. If this is the case, when the magma reaches the surface, the gasses will suddenly come out of the magma, causing pumice and ash to be violently thrown into the air. This type of eruption is not unlike the sudden release of carbon dioxide from a carbonated beverage can that has been shaken up, spewing soda pop foam. Examples include Mt. Saint Helens in the Pacific northwest and Mt. Pinatubo in the Phillipines.

If the magma does not contain much dissolved gas, then it oozes out the sides or top of the volcano and forms lava flows. This is the type of eruption that commonly occurs in Hawaii.

-Grant



Click here to return to the General Topics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory