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Portal:Volcanoes

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The Volcanoes Portal

Mount St. Helens

A volcano is an opening, or rupture, in a planet's surface or crust, which allows hot, molten rock, ash, and gases to escape from below the surface. Violent explosive eruptions from such vents often produce craters or calderas and coat extensive areas in volcanic ash, while the lava from comparatively gentle effusive eruptions may eventually form large plains, cones or mountains.

Volcanoes are generally found where tectonic plates are pulled apart or come together. A mid-oceanic ridge, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, hosts volcanoes caused by divergent tectonic plates pulling apart; the Pacific Ring of Fire contains many volcanoes caused by convergent tectonic plates coming together. By contrast, volcanoes are not commonly created at transform boundaries, where two tectonic plates slide past one another.

Volcanoes can be caused by mantle plumes. The resulting hotspots, for example at Hawaii, can occur far from plate boundaries. Hotspot volcanoes are also found elsewhere in the solar system, especially on rocky planets and moons. Intraplate volcanoes can also form where there is stretching and thinning of the Earth's crust, as in the Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field and the Rio Grande Rift in North America and the European Rhine Graben with its Eifel volcanoes.

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Nevado del Ruiz, two weeks after its deadly 1985 eruption
Nevado del Ruiz, also known as El Mesa de Herveo or Kumanday, is the northernmost volcano of the Andean Volcanic Belt, lying about 129 kilometers (80 mi) west of Bogotá in the Tolima Department of Colombia. It is a stratovolcano, composed of many layers of lava alternating with hardened volcanic ash and other pyroclastic rocks. Nevado del Ruiz has been active for about two million years, since the early Pleistocene or late Pliocene epoch, with three major eruptive periods. The current volcanic cone formed during the "present" eruptive period, which began 150 thousand years ago.

Nevado del Ruiz usually generates Plinian eruptions, which produce swift-moving currents of hot gas and rock called pyroclastic flows. These eruptions often cause massive lahars (mud and debris flows), which pose a threat to human life and the environment. On November 13, 1985, a small eruption produced an enormous lahar that buried and desolated the town of Armero in Tolima Department, causing an estimated 23,000 deaths. This event later became known as the Armero tragedy—the deadliest lahar in recorded history. Similar but less deadly incidents occurred in 1595 and 1845, consisting of a small explosive eruption followed by a large lahar.


Selected biography

Dr. Rosaly M. C. Lopes is a prominent planetary geologist, volcanologist, the author of numerous scientific papers and several books, as well as a great proponent of education. Her major research interests are in planetary and terrestrial surface processes with an emphasis on volcanology.

Lopes was (born January 1957 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), where she lived near the famous Ipanema beach. She moved to London, England, in 1975 to study astronomy at the University of London, from where she graduated with honors in astronomy in 1978. For her doctoral studies, she specialized in planetary geology and volcanology and completed her Ph.D. in Planetary Science in 1986 with a thesis on comparing volcanic processes on Earth and Mars. During her Ph.D. she traveled extensively to active volcanoes, particularly Mount Etna in Sicily, and became a member of the UK's Volcanic Eruption Surveillance Team.

She joined JPL as National Research Council Resident Research Associate in 1989 and, after 2 years, became a member of the Galileo Flight project. Lopes worked on the Near Infra-red Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS) team planning and analyzing of observations of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io from 1996 to 2001, during which time she discovered 71 volcanoes on Io that had never before been detected as active. In 2002, Lopes became Investigation Scientist on the Cassini RADAR Team. She has participated on several studies of future NASA and ESA missions as a member of the science definition team, including missions to Saturn and Titan.

Did you know

Mount St Helens erupting.

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

Related portals

Selected picture

Vatnajökull
Credit: Roger McLassus

Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Iceland, is located in the southeast and covers more than 8% of the country. The lakes on the glacier known as Grímsvötn, pictured here, are caused by volcanic eruptions which melt enough ice to fill the Grímsvötn caldera with water.

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"El enemigo sigue ahí. (The enemy is still there)"

— Sergio Galilea, intendant of the Los Lagos Region, Chile, speaking of the Chaitén Volcano on the first anniversary of its eruption, 2 May 2009

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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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