Types of Volcanoes
Volcanoes can be classified by the severity of their eruptions, which are usually named after famous volcanic explosions from the past or by the region they are usually associated with, or by their physical attributes.
Several classifications by severity are:
- Icelandic: lava gently flows on generally flat surface
- Hawaiian: little lava flows from small vent
- Strombolian: small, frequent eruptions
- Volcanian: less frequent, more violent Strombolian eruptions
- Vesuvian: violent eruptions after long periods of inactivity
- Krakatoan: extremely violent, often causes its peak to detach
- Pelean: powerful eruptions followed by flowing glowing lava
- Plinian: large amounts of lava and pyroclastic are ejected
In addition to the first classification, volcanologists also group them into five major categories:
- Basic or shield volcanoes
Basic or shield volcanoes have broad, gentle slopes, similar to a warrior's shield, built from the buildup of cooled basaltic lava over thousands of years. They usually have nonviolent eruptions, letting its fluidic lava flow out in all directions from its vent or vents.
- Acid or dome volcanoes
Acid or dome volcanoes tend to have craggy, steep-sloped sides covered with rock debris. Its eruptions are characterized by viscous lava explosions, which allow its lava to flow for great distances and to spill over and around its vent. The increase in temperature causes the dome to expand while its outer lava cools. This growth causes the newly hardened surface to splinter, causing loose debris to fall from its sides, the reason for its appearance. These volcanoes are typically found near large composite volcanoes.
- Cinder and scoria volcanoes
The cinder and scoria volcano, also called ash and cinder, is the most basic type of volcano, with a round crater at its summit. The cinder or scoria is the result of gas-charged lava cooling in the air during an eruption. Such volcanoes usually never surpass a height of 1000 ft.
- Composite volcanoes or stratovolcanoes
Composite volcanoes or stratovolcanoes are one of the most majestic mountains in the world. At a staggering height of 8,000 feet above sea level, no other volcano can tower over these beauties. However, a rose does have its thorns. These volcanoes have explosive eruptions, with lava flowing from a crater in its summit, enough to damage whole cities. Composite volcanoes are known for its unique system of tunnels through which magma flows to the crater.
- Caldera volcanoes
Caldera is a bowl-shaped volcano depression, usually at least a mile in diameter. Despite its meek appearance, calderas are actually the most explosive of them all, having the force of several nuclear explosions. Hot springs, geysers, and such can be found near a caldera.