Earth Science

Geological Activity from Plate Tectonics Processes

Types of Volcanoes

Study Tip
The type of a volcano determines how a volcano erupts and the types of magma they expel.

What is a Volcano?

  • A volcano is a place where molten rock and gas escape from a magma chamber.
  • The composition of the magma is directly related to the volcano’s shape.
  • There are many different types of volcanoes that differ in height, shape, and steepness.
Study Tip
Study Tip
The same way a person may cast a shadow over another person when they stand under the sun, planets or celestial bodies that have aligned themselves cast shadows over one another as well.
The type of a volcano determines how a volcano erupts and the types of magma they expel.

The Different Types of Volcanoes

Composite Volcanoes
Constructed from felsic to intermediate rock, often very steep

Composite Volcanoes

Explosive eruption due to the extreme viscosity of lava, creating high pressure

Shield Volcanoes
Large, not steep, often located near intraplate hotspots or spreading centers

Shield Volcanoes

Non-explosive eruption, lava is fluid and spreads further, creates a less steep structure. Lava has low viscosity

Cinder Cone Volcanoes
Small, cone-shaped, steep, grows rapidly from a single eruption cycle

Cinder Cone Volcanoes

Usually erupts strongly once, shoots up rocks called pumice up in the air.

Composite Volcanoes:

  • Constructed from felsic to intermediate rock, often very steep
  • Explosive eruption due to the extreme viscosity of lava, creating high pressure
Composite Volcanoes

Shield Volcanoes

  • Large, not steep, often located near intraplate hotspots or spreading centers
  • Non-explosive eruption, lava is fluid and spreads further, creates a less steep structure.
  • Lava has low viscosity
Shield Volcanoes

Cinder Cone Volcanoes

  • Small, cone-shaped, steep, grows rapidly from a single eruption cycle
  • Usually erupts strongly once, shoots up rocks called pumice up in the air
Cinder Cone Volcanoes
Concept Check
  • What is a volcano?
  • Compare and contrast the three types of volcanoes through their shapes and eruptions.