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Portal:Volcanoes

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Cleveland Volcano in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska photographed from the International Space Station, May 2006

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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The moon Enceladus
Enceladus is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. It was discovered in 1789 by William Herschel. Until the two Voyager spacecraft passed near it in the early 1980s, very little was known about this small moon besides the identification of water ice on its surface. The Voyagers showed that Enceladus is only 500 km in diameter and reflects almost 100% of the sunlight that strikes it. Voyager 1 found that Enceladus orbited in the densest part of Saturn's diffuse E ring, indicating a possible association between the two, while Voyager 2 revealed that despite the moon's small size, it had a wide range of terrains ranging from old, heavily cratered surfaces to young, tectonically deformed terrain, with some regions with surface ages as young as 100 million years old. The Cassini spacecraft of the mid- to late 2000s acquired additional data on Enceladus, answering a number of the mysteries opened by the Voyager spacecraft and starting a few new ones. Cassini performed several close flybys of Enceladus in 2005, revealing the moon's surface and environment in greater detail. In particular, the probe discovered a water-rich plume venting from the moon's south polar region. This discovery, along with the presence of escaping internal heat and very few (if any) impact craters in the south polar region, shows that Enceladus is geologically active today. Moons in the extensive satellite systems of gas giants often become trapped in orbital resonances that lead to forced libration or orbital eccentricity; proximity to the planet can then lead to tidal heating of the satellite's interior, offering a possible explanation for the activity.


Selected biography

Howel Williams (1898-1980) was a noted American geologist and volcanologist. He was born of Welsh parents in Liverpool, England, on October 12, 1898. He received a BA in geography in 1923 and an MA in archaeology in 1924 from Liverpool University. He studied geology at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London. In 1926 he moved to the University of California at Berkeley in 1926. In 1928 he was awarded the degree of D.Sc. from the University of Liverpool and published his first papers on the geology of various California volcanic regions.

He published many studies on the volcanoes of California, but is most noted for his "The Geology of Crater Lake National Park" in which he recognized the nature of the collapse of the crater and extended the work to develop the principles of volcanic caldera formation. He did extensive early work on the geology of Central America (often sketch-mapping from the windows of second-class buses), and of the Galapagos Islands. In Latin America, Williams put to good use his early background in archeology. For instance, he used petrographic techniques to trace the origin of stone used in the giant Olmec sculptures of La Venta, Tabasco Mexico.

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Colour image of Io's trailing hemisphere, highlighting the large red ring around the volcano Pele on Io

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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Arieal view of Mount Kilimanjaro
Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Aerial view of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa and the fourth highest of the Seven Summits. The volcano consists of three distinctive volcanic cones; of which the Kibo cone, pictured, is highest.

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"No one told us we needed a gas mask."

— Tourist visiting the highly active Ambrym volcano, South West Pacific.

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Project collaboration

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The current Project collaboration is Mount Shasta.

The project collaboration is a drive to improve our coverage of an important volcano-related topic. Once the article has been improved significantly, a new collaboration is chosen. Please improve the article any way you can.

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What you can do

Things you can do
  • Add the {{WikiProject Volcanoes}} message box to talk pages of articles within the scope of this project, including appropriate assessments, if needed.
  • Add appropriate volcano type categories to articles, and verify the accuracy of any existing categories. See the section "Categorization" below.
  • Add {{infobox mountain}} to articles if needed and missing, and add volcano-related fields to existing infoboxes if these are missing.
  • Expand volcano articles which are stubs, especially by adding photos and (most importantly) proper references.
  • Help improve articles related to Hawaiian and Canadian volcanism by joining the Hawaiian and Canadian workgroups.
  • Improve some of the project's most visible articles.


Featured work and other approved content

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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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