ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Volcanoes-Types, Causes and Effects

Updated on March 8, 2018
varsha bang profile image

Varsha is an enthusiast writer who loves to share informational content. She mostly writes about geographical phenomena.

A volcano is a vent on the surface of the earth from which hot molten magma,solid rock pieces,ash and other gases are erupted and spread on the surface of the earth. When volcanoes erupt, they present the scene of bursting and burning of a mountain.

A volcano has a vent or pipelike opening through which gases and other materials erupt. This pipe remains connected with the magma chamber inside the earth.

Causes of Volcanic Eruptions

According to geologists and other scientists, following could be the causes of volcanic eruptions:

  • Crustal Disturbances: The crustal disturbances are closely related to volcanic eruptions. Folding and faulting lessens the pressure on the underlaid rocks. It causes the formation of magma due to melting of solid rocks. This rising magma on finding weakness in the earth crust breaks it open to erupt on the surface of the earth as a volcano.
  • Weak Zones in the Earth Crust: The parts of the earth where two tectonic plates collide against or drift apart from each other are considered very weak. For example- African and Eurasian plates lie to the east of mid atlantic ridges and to their west lies the American plate. These plates are drifting apart from each other. Against this, the American plate is colliding against the East Pacific plate near Andes mountain ranges and going under the East Pacific plate. The edges of the plate while being drawn under the East Pacific plate are being melted to form magma which erupts on the surface. It is on this account that volcanic eruptions take place on the mountain ranges of Andes and Rockies.
  • Magma Saturated with Gases: The magma, in the interior of the earth is often found saturated with gases like carbon dioxide, Hydrogen sulphide and also in small quantities nitrogen, chlorine gas and other explosive materials. These gases together with water vapour makes the magma highly explosive. On account of the pressure exerted by these gases, magma is thrown out as lava on the surface of the earth.

In this manner, volcanoes act as safety valves of hidden energy of the earth. The accumulated energy deep inside the earth finds its way out on the surface through a volcanic eruption and calmness returns to the interior for a while.

Types of Volcanoes

Based on the frequency of eruption, there are three types of volcanoes:

  • Active Volcanoes: These are volcanoes which erupt frequently. Generally their vent remains open. Mount Etna of Italy, Cotopaxi in Equador are some examples.
  • Dormant Volcanoes: These volcanoes may not have erupted during known geological period but there is a possibility of their erupting any time. In other words, they may lie dormant awaiting active eruption anytime. Sometimes gases and steam comes out of them. They cause great destruction of life and property once they become active again. Visuvious Volcano of Italy is an example.
  • Extinct Volcanoes: These volcanoes have exhausted their energy and have not erupted during the known geological period. The vent of these volcanoes remains closed with solidified lava. The formations such as craters may be filled with water and crater lakes may be formed. The slopes of these landforms may be covered with vegetation. Popa in Myanmar is an example of extinct volcano.

On the basis of nature of eruption and form developed on the surface, they are classified into following types:

  • Shield Volcanoes: These are made up of basalt, a type of lava that is very fluid when erupted. They become explosive when water gets into the vent. They develop into a cinder code. Hawaiian volcanoes are examples of this category.
  • Composite Volcanoes: These volcanoes are explosive and along with lava, they erupt large quantities of ashes and pyroclastic material. This material form layers near the vent opening. Mount Fuji in Japan, Mount Rainier in USA are examples.
  • Caldera: These are the most explosive volcanoes. When they erupt they tend to collapse on themselves rather than building any tall structures. These collapsed depressions are called calderas. Yellowstone, Mount Mazama are examples.
  • Flood Basalt Provinces: Lava of these volcanoes flows for long distances and form basalt provinces. They cover broad regions with lava surfaces. Deccan Traps of India, Siberian Traps are examples of flood basalt provinces.
  • Mid-Oceanic Ridge Volcanoes: These occur in the oceanic areas. The central portion of mid oceanic ridge experience frequent eruptions.

Effects of Volcanic Activity

The volcanic eruption is the most dangerous phenomenon. Their sudden eruption causes great upheaval on the surface of the earth. Hundreds of tonnes of burning rocks, dust and ash are thrown up in the sky. The clouds of smoke rise up several kilometers in the atmosphere. A huge river of molten lava flows down the slopes. Everything that comes in its way- trees, animals, humans and their houses and factories are engulfed in flames and lapped up in the fiery flowing river. Effects of volcanoes include:

  • Volcanoes make several types of landforms. Fujiyama mountain in Japan and Malwa plateau in India are the result of volcanic activity.
  • Regur soils are formed on lava plateaus. These soils are highly fertile for growing cotton.
  • At many places near the volcanoes, sulphur, boric acid and pumice are found.
  • Many minerals come to the surface with volcanic eruptions. Silver, Zinc, Copper and other metals are also obtained. Iron ore deposits in Sweden are of volcanic origin.
  • Volcanoes are sources of hot water springs. Many skin diseases are cured by bathing in this water.
  • Crater lakes made by volcanoes are of great use in irrigation.
  • Volcanoes also helps in knowing about the interior of the earth. The molten magma which comes out of the volcanoes can be studied to understand the materials found inside the earth.
  • They cause enormous loss to life and property and submerges a vast area causing destruction of vegetation.

Have you ever seen a volcanic eruption?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      20 months ago

      What is a volcano

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      very good


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)