Home Articles Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Volcanoes

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Volcanoes

What is a volcano?

In order to understand what a volcano is, the first thing that you need to know is the meaning of the word “volcano”. The word volcano comes from a Roman word “Vulcanus” which means a small volcanic Island of Sicily. In that case, people believed that the gods were very active and loved fire more than water. The ancient people believed also that the gods had a chimney in which the gods released their anger from. The word volcano, therefore, comes from the word Vulcanus which was developed from the fact that it is only the gods who can do such a surprising activity.
However, in the modern times, the volcanoes refers to as any place on earth where a hot lava or magma came out and when they cooled down, the formed a mountain or a heap
of rocks, ashes or flattened rocky surface.

Is there a difference between an active, dormant and extinct volcano?

The above terms are indeed different given the fact that they represent different volcanic activities. Firstly, when a volcano is active, it refers to the fact that there has been a volcanic activity that has been active during or within the past 10,000 years. However, when we refer to an active volcano, we refer to those volcanoes which can erupt at any minute or are basically dormant for a specified period of time.

The dormant volcano, on the other hand, is an active volcano that has stopped erupting but is expected to erupt in future. Dormant volcanoes are hard to tell if they will erupt soon. However, there are signs which scientist use to tell whether a dormant volcano will erupt soon or not.

An extinct volcano is the one which has shown no signs of erupting for the past 10,000 and is expected not to erupt again.

Which are the most active volcanoes in the world?

There are a number of active volcanoes in the world. The list is long but the most active volcanic activity is that of the Etna, Stromboli and Yasur. These volcanoes have been erupting frequently over the past a hundred years. There activities are notable and scientist have kept a list of the exact period when they erupted. On the other hand, in terms of the quantity of lava produced, Kilauea in Hawaii, Mt Etna in Italy, Nyamuragira in Congo and Piton de la Fournaise (Reunion Island) have produce the largest quantity of magma per a single eruption.

Other notable most active volcanoes include: the Ambrym (Vanuatu); which has erupted continuously for 3500 years, Tinakula (Vanuatu); which has erupted continuously for over 2000 years among others.

How can we tell if a volcano cannot erupt anymore or anytime soon?

According to scientist and their researches, we can conclude that a volcano may not erupt anymore whenever there is no activity in the magma compartment below. This means that there are no seismic activity and there are no materials forcing their way out through the vent. It may not erupt anymore when there has been no activity over a span of 10,000 years.

Is there any association between volcanoes and geyser activities?

Indeed there is a probable association or relationship between geysers and volcanoes. Geysers arise when the water stored at the rock stratum beneath the surface layers are heated and ejected as a result of pressure created by the boiling water. For geysers to exist, the place in which they occur must be heated by the hot magma below the water holding rocks. Geysers are therefore common in regions with active volcanoes.

Is there an exact number of active volcanoes in the world?

There is no exact number in which to describe volcanoes in the world simply because there are many volcanoes which are yet to be documented. Some of the volcanic regions have semi-volcanoes which are yet to be reported. There are millions of active volcanoes which erupt in different times and may have not been documented or reported. This makes it difficult to count them.

Which of the volcanoes is the largest in history?

The largest volcano ever recorder or documented on earth is the Mauna Loa which is located Hawaii’s Big Island. The Mauna Loa is the largest since the ever piling lava has created a mountain which is over 17,000 meters high. This measurement is basically from the sea surface but when measurements are taken from the sea bed, an additional 9,000 m will be accrued.
The Mauna Loa has had more than eruptions which have been documented and others which have never been documented due to the fact that it might have happened without warning. There are viable signs that this volcano will erupt soon again and that is the reason why it has continued to grow taller in height over the years.