25 April, 2012

A-Z Blogging Challenge: Volcanology

Public domain image. SOURCE.
Volcanology, also known as vulcanology, is the study of volcanoes.

The field examines the formation and classification of volcanoes, matter expelled during eruptions (pyroclastic flows, lava, dust, ash, gases), volcanic relations to other geologic events (mountain building, earthquakes), and attempts to predict when volcanoes may erupt. It also involves geophysics, geochemistry, seismology, and geodesy.

Volcanoes form because of rising magma from beneath the surface of Earth, usually close to the edges of tectonic plates. There are three types of volcanic activity: spreading center volcanism (takes place along diverging plates), subduction zone volcanism (takes place where two plates converge) and intraplate volcanism (takes place mid-plate where there are no plate edges).

Volcano types are further classified as cones (steeply sloped with the typical volcano shape), shield volcanoes (shallow sloped), and stratovolcanoes (also known as composite volcanoes; they are shallow at the base, curves sharply upward toward the top). Some major kinds of eruptions include fissure eruptions (eruptions occur along a line), Hawaiian eruptions (relatively calm flows of basalt lava with little volcanic gas), Strombolian eruptions (explosive, noisy eruptions that involve a lot of volcanic gas), Vulcanian eruptions (short series of eruptions that send up a lot of rocks at the onset but become quieter and steadier after some time), Plinian eruptions (generate plumes of ash that travel up to 45 km into the air), and hydrovolcanic eruptions (eruptions that happen in water).

By Ahjartar, CC-BY-SA-3.0. SOURCE.
Notable Volcanologist:

Haraldur Sigurðsson

Haraldur Sigurðsson is a volcanologist and marine geologist. He received a Ph.D. in Petrology/Geochemistry from Durham University and is a current Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. He has studied volcanoes in Iceland, North America, South America, the Caribbean, Indonesia, Italy, and Africa, and has researched underwater volcanoes. He was awarded the Coke Medal by the Geological Society of London for his work. Sigurðsson has also hosted several TV documentaries, including The Riddle of Pompeii, Horizon, Naked Science, and Timewatch.

Video with Haraldur Sigurðsson (embedding was disabled, so I couldn't put it directly in this post):





Do you live near any volcanoes?

-----The Golden Eagle


Anita said...

Thanks for an interesting & informative post. I don't live anywhere near any volcanoes, but I'd love to visit a live one sometime :)

Nick Wilford said...

I live near the Edinburgh one, but hopefully that's not going off any time soon, especially since they put a castle on top of it!

It was interesting to learn about all those types of eruptions. Thanks for this post.

Old Kitty said...

We did visit Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii - totally totally amazing!!!

Take care

stuartnager said...

Don't live near one, but when I went to Maui...wow..what an experience.

Live long and prosper! Oh..not that Vulcan. Darn it! Well... live long and prosper, GE, anyways...

Rusty Webb said...

I think everyone in north America is within the blast radius of Yellowstone should it decide to go - but for all practical purposes - no, I don't live near a volcano.

And volcanologist is a profession I don't think I'd ever want to do. Too many seem to die in volcano related events *shudders*

Clarissa Draper said...

There's a volcano about to erupt in Mexico. Near Mexico city. That should be a sight.

Jay Noel said...

Very cool. My brother lives in Portland, and they have Mount Tibor (among others) out there. I think that one is a cone.

Sangu Mandanna said...

I don't live near any volcanoes (thankfully!) but I've always wanted to see one!

Pat Hatt said...

Thankfully I don't live near them, I think they are fun to look at, but would be too paranoid to live near them.

cestlavie22 said...

No volcanoes near me- I would really like to travel and see one though. Really interesting post :)

David P. King said...

I once had an obsession with volcanoes. Watched Dante's Peak I don't know how many times as a kid. Not too surprising that there's a volcano in three of my books. :)

Brooke said...

Interesting! I've always been fascinated by volcanos. Loving your posts for the A-Z challenge.

~Brooke {via The Dove Tree}

L.G.Smith said...

I don't live near any active traditional volcanos, though I do live in a state adjacent to Wyoming, which is said to be one huge volcano ready to blow. The earth's crust is supposedly the thinnest there, where all the geysers and sulphur pits boil and bubble. Some predict the entire thing will blow some day.

DWei said...

Interesting to see that you video embedding failed too. I wonder if it's just a "new" Blogger feature.

Sarah Allen said...

Can I become an expert on Vulcan's and call myself a vulcanologist?

Great post :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

S. L. Hennessy said...

I definitely would love studying volcanoes. It kind of makes me think of Jules Verne and Journey to the Center/

Carol Riggs said...

Fascinating things, volcanoes. I was in the Portland area when Mt. St. Helen's blew in 1980. I remember the ashfall, and the trees dripping MUD when the rain started. I still have a little container of ash! :)

Cherie Reich said...

Volcanoes are fascinating, not that I would want to live near one. I love volcano movies, though, like Dante's Peak.

Simon Kewin said...

It's a sobering thought to think of all that energy burning away beneath our feet ...

nutschell said...

volcanoes are beautiful but deadly. I remember when Mt. PInatubo blew up in the Philippines. the streets were white with ash!

M Pax said...

Yes, I do. I live in the foothills of the Cascade Mtn range which has several volcanoes. One of the Sisters is growing [very close by], and Mt. St. Helens is about 3 hours away. My whole backyard is carved out of lava and I stare at a lava butte every day out the back.

A caldera is just a few miles south of here. Lava, lava everywhere ...

Matt said...

This makes me think of Yellowstone. I'm in Florida so I'm not in direct blast radius but I'm sure I would feel the eventual effects of it.

Sofia said...

I live in a very mountainous area, with several active volcanoes. :P

We were learning about volcanoes in both science and social studies this year... They always kind of freaked me out. xD

Interesting post!

Christine Rains said...

Excellent V post. I've never lived near a volcano unless you count living in Vancouver, BC, and being that close to Washington state. I've never seen one either, but I'd like to one day.

Nancy Thompson said...

I live in Seattle, about 100 miles from Mt. Rainier, the most dangerous and explosive type of volcano there is. Looking at that beautiful snow-covered mountain, I can't believe it has the capacity to wipe me off the planet in a split second.

Lynda R Young said...

Thankfully there's no volcanoes near me. Yay! I did visit Pompeii once. An amazing place.

Noushka said...

Volcanoes are truly fascinating, but living near one wouldn't suit me much! :)
The "super" ones are very scary and some are overdue for eruptions....
When those calderas awake, we will be in for some drama!!
Interesting post, thanks and cheers!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Golden .. fortunately I don't live near a volcano .. but they are magnificent forces of nature ..

Cheers Hilary

The Golden Eagle said...

Anita: You're very welcome!

Me, too. :) I'd get a little nervous around an active one, though . . .

Nick: I hope it doesn't erupt, then!

Anytime. :)

Old Kitty: Now those are some famous volcanoes.

Stuart: LOL. I thought of Star Trek when I read that it was sometimes called vulcanology.

*salutes* Live long and prosper!

Rusty: I don't want to think about Yellowstone . . . it would be absolute disaster if it decided to blow its top.

Clarissa: I imagine it would be! :) Hope no one gets hurt, though.

Jay: Cool!

Sangu: I'd like to visit a volcano someday, too.

Pat: It's always dismaying to watch documentaries about how many people would have to evacuate some areas in the case of a volcano eruption.

Cestlavie22: Thank you! :)

David: Sounds like a great setting. I've never written about a volcano . . .

Brooke: Thanks--I'm so glad you're enjoying them! :)

L.G.: It's a scary idea that part of the western USA would be ready to explode; I saw a NOVA program about supervolcanoes and one theory suggested an eruption caused an ice age.

DWei: Actually, the person who uploaded it to YouTube disabled embedding, so I don't think it had much to do with Blogger itself. I've heard a lot of people are having trouble with Blogger lately, though. :/

Sarah: Sure, why not? ;)

Thank you!

S. L.: That was a great story!

Carol: Wow. It must have been some experience to be there during the eruption!

Cherie: I've never actually watched a movie about a volcano. Just non-fiction documentaries. :P

Simon: It is.

Nutschell: Sounds scary!

M: I hope none of the volcanoes in your area are getting ready to erupt anytime soon . . .

Matt: In the region where we live I remember on prediction that it would get buried under feet of ash if Yellowstone were to blow. Mind if I move to Florida if it does? ;)

Sofia: I'm glad I don't live near a volcano. They're too unpredictable.

Thanks! :)

Christine: Thank you.

I'd like to as well.

Nancy: Beautiful but deadly--nature seems to specialize in that.

Lynda: From what I've heard, it must be. :) I want to visit the other site hit by Vesuvius, Herculaneum--the ash preserved quite a lot there!

Noushka: Definitely. Assuming humans are still around by then . . . which isn't impossible.

Hilary: Indeed they are!

Deniz Bevan said...

There was an Icelandic guy at work who taught me how to pronounce Ejafjatlayokutl (misspelled, I know)...

The Golden Eagle said...

Deniz: I heard a few people on the news pronounce it when the volcano originally erupted--I could never get it exactly!