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NonExplosive Volcanism

Non-explosive volcanism

Non-explosive volcanism

  • Exhibition Text

    • Effusive volcanism and plate tectonics
      People associate volcanoes with spectacular explosive eruptions, yet most volcanoes erupt basalt, a fluid lava from the mantle that erupts effusively and forms flows. Most basaltic lava erupts on the ocean floor, along an undersea mountain chain called the mid-ocean ridge system. Basaltic lava also erupts at “hot spots,” where molten rock, or magma, forms in plumes of hot rock that rise from deep in the Earth to penetrate a moving plate above. Over time, a chain of volcanoes forms, such as the Hawaiian Islands, aligned along the direction of the plate’s movement.

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  • For Educators

    • Topic: Earth Science

      Subtopic: Volcanoes

      Keywords: Volcanoes, Basalt, Plate tectonics, Lava, Volcanism, Volcanic eruptions

      Audience: General

In This Section

The Hawaiian hot spot

The Hawaiian hot spot

A chain of 107 volcanoes – some islands, some submerged – extends from Hawaii to the northwest.

Kilkaueau Hawaii

Kilauea volcano Hawaii

In 1983, lava flows from the Kilauea volcano began to encroach upon the Royal Gardens area on the island of Hawaii.

Volcanoes Under the Sea

Volcanoes Under the Sea

The longest volcano chain in the world is the 80,000-kilometer-long mid-ocean ridge system, where new ocean crust is formed and the tectonic plates - the Earth's moving outer shell - separate from each other.

Flood Basalts

Flood basalts

Among the major outpourings of lava are the huge plains known as flood basalt provinces.

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