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Types of Volcanoes

Roy D'Silva Feb 10, 2019
Volcanoes are natural phenomena, which may pose danger to the human population nearby. Here is a short description of the three types of volcanoes.
Volcanoes are those ruptures in the Earth's surface or crust, that allows gases, volatiles, and hot and molten magma to escape from deep below the surface. Most volcanic activity forms mountains or mountainous regions over a period of time.


They produce the largest eruptions on our planet. This type of volcano also produces the most volume of magma, and the ejections can severely impact and alter the global climate for years, as well as critically alter the landscape of the surrounding area.
The subtypes of these volcanoes are Massive Eruptions and Large Igneous Provinces (LIPS). The latter are extensive regions of basalt on a continental scale, and are a result of flood basaltic eruptions.

Volcanic Cones

These are the simplest types of volcanoes. When small pieces of pyroclastics rocks and scoria, the vesicular ejections of basaltic and andestitic magmas are thrown out, and built at the vent of a volcano, they are known as cinder volcanoes.
Both these substances resemble cinders, and therefore, the name cinder cones. These eruptions can be short-lived as compared to other volcanoes. They produce cone-shaped hills that are about thirty to four hundred meters high. This type of volcano erupts only once.
There are different kinds of volcanic cones, depending on the size of fragments thrown up during the eruption and size. They are named as Ash Cone, Spatter Cone, and Cinder Cones.

Ash Cones

They have a composition of silt sized particles. The interaction between volcanic gases, magma, and the expanding steam ejects very small particles called ash. These particles have a consistency of flour, and forms an ash cone after their consolidation.

Spatter Cones

They are formed when the molten lava ejected has a shape similar to taffy. The expanded gases in the lava tear up the liquid rock into misshapen or irregularly shaped rocks that fall back on the ground. This forms a heap around the volcano vent.
Partly liquid rock splashed down during a volcano is called spatter. This rock type is not fully solid when it lands on the ground,and hence, their sizes and shapes are completely irregular. The spatter then molds together, and such cones are formed during volcanic eruptions.

Cinder Cones

They are built of loose volcanic fragments, also known as cinders, pumic, tephra, or pyroclastic material. Cinders are built from particles or congealed lava which erupts from a single vent. Bowl shaped craters are common at the summit of these cones.


They are tall and conical, and are composed of many layers of tephra, lava, and volcanic ash. They have a steep profile.
They spew out viscous lava that cools out before spreading. The source magma is acidic, and has a high silica content.

Submarine Volcanoes

They are formed when magma erupts in the underwater fissures of Earth. They are largely present near the areas of tectonic plate movement. These volcanoes are located in the oceans, although some exist in shallow water. The latter ones can also erupt, and their lava composition is different from that of a terrestrial eruption. This is known as pillow lava.

Subglacial Volcano

They are present below the surface of a glacier or ice sheet. The heat of the volcano melts the ice; the water cools the lava, and pillow lava is formed, quite similar to the type formed by the previous type of volcanoes. The breaking of the pillow lava forms pillow breccia and tuff breccia.