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Volcanism - Windows to the Universe

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This is an image of the eruption of Stromboli volcano.
Click on image for full size
Image from: Dr. J. Alean, Eglisau, Switzerland
For more information, images and video about Stromboli volcano see Stromboli On-Line.


Volcanism is part of the process of bringing material from the deep interior of a planet and spilling it forth on the surface. Eruptions also eject new molecules into the atmosphere. Volcanism is part of the process by which a planet cools off. Even though they are not volcanoes, geysers and hot springs are also part of the volcanic process, involving water and hydrothermal activity. Some planetary bodies, like Jupiter's moon Europa, exhibit icy volcanism, which is another form of volcanism involving water.

There are several ways in which a volcano forms, just as there are several different kinds of volcanoes. On Earth, the most general cause of volcanism is caused by subduction of the Earth's crust.

There are quite a few other planets which have volcanoes on the surface, including Venus, Mars, and Jupiter's moon Io. Other planets exhibit the results of volcanic activity. These include Mercury, the Earth's Moon, Jupiter's moon Europa, and perhaps Neptune's moon Triton.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF