Manual Island of Ashes: The Fire That Killed Key West

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When the magma reaches the conduits the pressure is released and the gases explode, like soda spewing out of a soda can that you shook up and opened suddenly, according to San Diego State University.

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Because they form in a system of underground conduits, stratovolcanoes may blow out the sides of the cone as well as the summit crater. Stratovolcanoes are considered the most violent. Mount St. Helens , in Washington state, is a stratovolcano that erupted on May 18, Approximately square miles square kilometers of forest was completely obliterated and 57 people were killed.

Over the course of the day, winds blew million tons of ash eastward across the United States and caused complete darkness in Spokane, Washington, miles kilometers from the volcano, according to the U. Shield volcanoes are huge, gently sloping volcanoes built of very thin lava spreading out in all directions from a central vent. They have wide bases several miles in diameter with steeper middle slopes and a flatter summit.

Eruptions of these volcanoes are not generally explosive, but are more like liquid overflowing around the edges of a container. The world's largest volcano, Mauna Loa in Hawaii , is a shield volcano, according to the U. Mauna Loa is about 55, feet 17, meters from its base beneath the ocean to the summit, which is 13, feet 4, meters above sea level.

It is also one of the Earth's most active volcanoes and is carefully monitored. The most recent eruption was in Lava domes are built up when the lava is too viscous to flow , according to the U. A bubble or plug of cooling rock forms over a fissure. This cooler, thick lava usually rises near the end of an explosive eruption and lava domes often form within the craters of stratovolcanoes. Helens has several well-defined lava domes inside the crater , according to NASA. Besides well-known symmetrical volcanoes such as Mount Fuji in Japan and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, volcanic activity is responsible for several other distinctive landforms.

Calderas : A caldera is a bowl-shaped depression formed when a volcano collapses into the void left when its magma chamber is emptied. There are three types , according to San Diego State University. The first type is a crater lake caldera. This is the result of a stratovolcano collapsing into its magma chamber during a violent eruption.

Basaltic calderas have a concentric ring pattern resulting from a series of gradual collapses rather than a single event. They are often found at the summit of shield volcanoes such as the craters at the tops of Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Resurgent calderas are the largest volcanic structures on Earth. They are the result of catastrophic eruptions that dwarf any eruptions ever recorded by human beings. Yellowstone caldera, sometimes called a "super volcano," is one example. Volcanic plugs : When magma solidifies in the fissure of a volcano the hard dense rock may form a " neck " that remains when softer surrounding rock has been eroded away, according to the U.

Another volcano just erupted in the “Ring of Fire”

Tuff cones : also known as maars, tuff cones are shallow, flat-floored craters that scientists think formed as a result of a violent expansion of magmatic gas or steam, according to the U. Maars range in size from to 6, feet 60 to 1, meters across and from 30 to feet 9 to meters deep, and most are commonly filled with water to form natural lakes.

Maars occur geologically young volcanic regions of the world such as the western United States and the Eifel region of Germany. Lava plateaus : Shield volcanoes may erupt along lines of fissures rather than a central vent spilling liquid lava in successive layers. Over time as these layers form broad plateaus such as the Columbia Plateau, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

These plateaus are often cut by deep canyons that expose the layers of rock. It has erupted dozens of times in the past 2, years, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. The A. The volcano sent a cloud ejecta into the atmosphere that was more than four times the amount ejected by Mount Pinatubo in , leading to the " Year Without a Summer " of in Europe and North America, according to a paper in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change.

Seventy-pound boulders landed on islands 50 miles away, and a foot tsunami devastated hundreds of villages, including Java and Sumatra, according to San Diego State University. About 36, people died. Dust high in the atmosphere caused the moon to appear blue , and sometimes green, for two years, according to NASA.

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