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A blast from the past. That’s a pretty good description of a volcano. The magma that erupts from a volcano is melted rock that was formed long ago, heated by the thermal energy that still exists from when the planet was formed and by nuclear reactions from radioactive materials made when Earth was created that happen deep inside Earth. In this investigation, you’ll see how volcanoes form and use some tools that scientists use to study them.

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Volcano Brochure

Volcano Brochure

What is a volcano?

A volcano is an opening on Earth’s surface where materials, such as lava, ash, and gases can escape from below the surface.

What is plate tectonics?

Plate tectonics is the creation and building of various features on the surface of Earth due to the action of the plate’s movements.

What is a plate boundary?

A plate boundary is the location where two or more tectonic plates meet.

What is a plate margin?

A plate margin is the end of a tectonic plate.

What is convection?

Convection occurs when a fluid is heated and results in a particular pattern of circulation due to density differences of the heated fluid. Warmer fluid moves to the surface, while cooler fluid sinks to the bottom.

What is a topographic map?

A topographic map shows the elevation, steepness, and the shape of a given area of land. These maps use contour lines that connect points that have an identical elevation. A contour interval is the difference in elevation between two of the nearest contour lines.

What is a hot spot?

A hot spot is a region on Earth’s surface where there is an abundant supply of magma rising up towards the surface.

What is the Ring of Fire?

The Ring of Fire is the area around the edges of the Pacific Ocean. This area is characterized by significant movement of adjoining plates. This interaction of plates creates a large number of volcanoes and earthquakes.

What are the main elements in the oceanic crust?

Oceanic crust consists of mostly iron and magnesium that make up the basaltic rock.

What are the main elements in the continental crust?

Continental crust consists mainly of granitic rock that has large amounts of silicon and aluminum.
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