Shop Windows to the Universe

Learn about planets outside our solar system through Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems by Tahir Yaqoob, Ph.D., a book in our online store book collection.
This is an image of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.
Click on image for full size
Image from: U.S. Geological Survey

Eruptions

Volcanic eruptions come in many different forms. Some eruptions only contain lava and hot gas. These lavas move slowly, at walking speed or slower. Other eruptions contain lava accompanied by clouds of ash, bombs, lava fragments, as well as hot gases.

In some eruptions, ash and lava, carried by hot vapors, can pour down a volcano with speeds of about 100 miles per hour. This special type of eruption destroyed the city of St. Pierre in 1902 in a matter of minutes.

In other cases, the eruption can melt snow and ice at the peak of the volcano, and a mass of mud and lava can sweep rapidly down like a river, and destroy everything in its path.

Some famous eruptions in Earth history include Mt. Pelee, Krakatoa, Crater Lake (formerly Mt. Mazama), Mt. Vesuvius, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Pinatubo.


Last modified May 22, 2008 by Becca Hatheway.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books on science education!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Science, Evolution, and Creationism

How did life evolve on Earth? The answer to this question can help us understand our past and prepare for our future. Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other explanations with which they are more comfortable....more

Lava

Lava is the word for magma (molten rock) which is on the surface of the Earth. After being released from the magma chamber and cooling, lava hardens into rock. The term lava can describe active flows,...more

Pyroclastic Material

Sometimes a cloud of ash and lava fragments can be carried through the air by hot vapors from the volcano. Such a flow is usually *very* hot, and moves *rapidly* down the slopes of a volcano. Surges of...more

Mt. Pelee

Mt. Pelee is not a very tall volcano, in fact it is an example of what is called a "lava dome". It had a big eruption in 1902 which wiped out most people in a town downslope. During the eruption, a burning...more

Lahar

Hot material from the volcano can melt snow and ice at the volcano summit and cause large mudslides which can sweep rapidly down the mountain. These mudslides destroy almost everything in their path. This...more

Krakatoa

One of the most powerful volcanic explosions in the history of the world occured at Krakatoa in the last century. Krakatoa was formerly a volcanic island between Java and Sumatra. In August 27, 1883, a...more

Crater Lake

Mt. Mazama was once among a group of volcanoes stretching along the coast of Washington and Oregon. This group of volcanoes includes Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. St. Helens. 6850 years ago, Mt. Mazama...more

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