Volcanoes - recent eruptions, lava & lahars
Read on for volcano facts and information, plus stories about volcanoes in the news.
Our Volcanoes worldwide section gives you a taste of some of the most interesting and recently erupted volcanoes in the world. Read how and why volcanoes erupt or check out the types of volcano that exist. You can find a glossary of volcanic terms here.
You can also view the US Geological Survey's volcano pictures depicting volcanoes from around the world, plus explanations and images of specific volcano features. Or the Global Volcanism Programs pictures of volcanoes of the world.
So what is a volcano?
Put simply, you can define a volcano as an eruption of molten rock, gases and pyroclastic (material composed of rock fragments of volcanic origin) debris through the earth's crust.
From the cross section of the volcano you can see that under the summit crater there is a central vent, which is connected to a magma chamber - the main storage area for the eruptive material. The volcano's cone-shaped structure, or edifice, is created by an accumulation of lava and/or pyroclastic material around the central vent.
The volcano’s flanks can often be fractured, and occasionally tap the magma source within a shallow magma chamber, resulting in flank eruptions along the sides of the volcanic edifice. These eruptions can generate cone-shaped accumulations of volcanic material, called parasitic cones.
Fractures can also act as conduits for escaping volcanic gases, which are released at the surface through vent openings called fumaroles.
For more information read How volcanoes work