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Sabancaya volcano, Peru in 2017

A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface.

Earth's volcanoes occur because its crust is broken into 17 major, rigid tectonic plates that float on a hotter, softer layer in its mantle. Therefore, on Earth, volcanoes are generally found where tectonic plates are diverging or converging, and most are found underwater. For example, a mid-oceanic ridge, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, has volcanoes caused by divergent tectonic plates whereas the Pacific Ring of Fire has volcanoes caused by convergent tectonic plates. Volcanoes can also form where there is stretching and thinning of the crust's plates, e.g., in the East African Rift and the Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field and Rio Grande Rift in North America. This type of volcanism falls under the umbrella of "plate hypothesis" volcanism. Volcanism away from plate boundaries has also been explained as mantle plumes. These so-called "hotspots", for example Hawaii, are postulated to arise from upwelling diapirs with magma from the core–mantle boundary, 3,000 km deep in the Earth. Volcanoes are usually not created where two tectonic plates slide past one another.

Erupting volcanoes can pose many hazards, not only in the immediate vicinity of the eruption. One such hazard is that volcanic ash can be a threat to aircraft, in particular those with jet engines where ash particles can be melted by the high operating temperature; the melted particles then adhere to the turbine blades and alter their shape, disrupting the operation of the turbine. Large eruptions can affect temperature as ash and droplets of sulfuric acid obscure the sun and cool the Earth's lower atmosphere (or troposphere); however, they also absorb heat radiated from the Earth, thereby warming the upper atmosphere (or stratosphere). Historically, volcanic winters have caused catastrophic famines.

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Io
Io is the innermost of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter and, with a diameter of 3,642 kilometers, the fourth-largest moon in the Solar System. It was named after Io, a priestess of Hera that became one of the lovers of Zeus. With over 400 active volcanoes, Io is the most geologically active object in the Solar System. This extreme geologic activity is the result of tidal heating from friction generated within Io's interior by Jupiter's varying pull. Several volcanoes produce plumes of sulfur and sulfur dioxide that climb as high as 500 km (310 mi). Io's surface is also dotted with more than 100 mountains that have been uplifted by extensive compression at the base of the moon's silicate crust. Some of these peaks are taller than Earth's Mount Everest. Unlike most satellites in the outer Solar System (which have a thick coating of ice), Io is primarily composed of silicate rock surrounding a molten iron or iron sulfide core. Most of Io's surface is characterized by extensive plains coated with sulfur and sulfur dioxide frost. Io's volcanism is responsible for many of that satellite's unique features. Its volcanic plumes and lava flows produce large surface changes and paint the surface in various shades of red, yellow, white, black, and green, largely due to the sulfurous compounds. Numerous extensive lava flows, several longer than 500 kilometres (311 mi) in length, also mark the surface.


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Wolfgang Waltershausen
Wolfgang Sartorius Freiherr von Waltershausen (December 17, 1809 – March 16, 1876) was a German geologist. Waltershausen was born at Göttingen and educated at the University of Göttingen. There he devoted his attention to physical and natural science, and in particular to mineralogy. Waltershausen's father, Georg, was a writer, lecturer and professor of economics and history at Göttingen, best known for his role of translator and popularizer of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations.

During a tour in 1834-1835 Waltershausen carried out a series of magnetic observations in various parts of Europe. He then gave his attention to an exhaustive investigation of the volcano of Mount Etna, in Sicily, and carried on the work with some interruptions until 1843. The chief result of this undertaking was his great Atlas des Ätna (1858–1861), in which he distinguished the lava streams formed during the later centuries.

After his return from Mount Etna, Waltershausen visited Iceland, and subsequently published Physisch-geographische Skizze von Island (1847), Über die vulkanischen Gesteine in Sizilien und Island (1853), and Geologischer Atlas von Island (1853). Meanwhile he was appointed professor of mineralogy and geology at Göttingen, and held this post for about thirty years, until his death.

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Satellite map showing the Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain

Volcanoes topics

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Core topics: Volcano  • Volcanology  • Igneous petrology  • Lava  • Magma  • Decade Volcanoes  • List of volcanoes  • Plate tectonics  • Hotspot

Types of volcanoes: Fissure vent  • Shield volcano  • Lava dome  • Cinder cone  • Stratovolcano  • Supervolcano  • Submarine volcano  • Subglacial volcano  • Mud volcano

Types of eruptions: (Overview)  • Strombolian  • Vulcanian  • Peléan  • Hawaiian  • Surtseyan  • Plinian  • Submarine  • Subglacial  • Phreatic

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Pāhoehoe lava
Credit: J.D. Griggs, USGS

An arching fountain of pāhoehoe lava, approximately 10 m (33 ft) high, issuing from a spatter cone of Pu‘u Kahaualea, Hawaii. Pāhoehoe is basaltic lava that has a smooth, billowy, undulating, or ropy surface. These surface features are due to the movement of very fluid lava under a congealing surface crust. Pāhoehoe lavas typically have a temperature of 1100°C–1200°C.

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We'll just look at you. If you looked scared then we'll panic.

— Discovery channel crew, talking to volcanologist John Seach during filming at Yasur Volcano, 2000.


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Featured articles: 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens  • 2007–2008 Nazko earthquakes  • Amchitka  • Armero tragedy  • Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve  • Cerro Azul (Chile volcano)  • David A. Johnston  • Enceladus (moon)  • Geology of the Lassen volcanic area  • Io (moon)  • Loihi Seamount  • Mauna Kea  • Mauna Loa  • Metacomet Ridge  • Mono-Inyo Craters  • Mount Cayley volcanic field  • Mount St. Helens  • Mount Tambora  • Nevado del Ruiz  • Surtsey  • The Volcano (British Columbia)  • Triton (moon)  • Upper and Lower Table Rock  • Volcanism on Io  • Volcano (South Park)  • Yellowstone National Park

Featured lists: List of volcanoes in Indonesia  • List of volcanoes in the Hawaiian – Emperor seamount chain  • List of largest volcanic eruptions

Featured pictures: There are currently 43 volcano-related Featured pictures. A full gallery can be seen here.

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Good articles: Abyssal plain  • Amak Volcano  • Anahim hotspot  • Axial Seamount  • Ben Nevis  • Bowie Seamount  • Crater Lake  • Davidson Seamount  • Ferdinandea  • Gareloi Volcano  • Geyser  • Glacier Peak  • Hawaii hotspot  • Hualālai  • Kohala (mountain)  • Lake Toba  • Minoan eruption  • Mount Adams (Washington)  • Mount Bailey  • Mount Baker  • Mount Cleveland (Alaska)  • Mount Edziza volcanic complex  • Mount Garibaldi  • Mount Hood  • Mount Kenya  • Mount Rainier  • Mount Redoubt  • Mount Tehama  • Mount Thielsen  • Mount Vesuvius  • Peter I Island  • Roxy Ann Peak  • Rùm  • Sakurajima  • Sangay  • Silverthrone Caldera  • Staffa  • Types of volcanic eruptions  • Volcanic ash  • Weh Island  • Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field  • Yamsay Mountain

Valued pictures: A gallery of volcano-related valued pictures can be seen here.

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