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Which are the biggest tallest and largest volume and smallest volcanoes on Earth The island of Hawaii is probably the largest volcano on earth From its base on the floor of the Pacific Ocean to the summit of Mauna Kea about 13 000ft is some 30 000ft ie higher than Everest The island comprises several coalescing volcanoes including Mauna Loa Mauna Kea and Kilauea Mauna Loa alone has an estimated volume of 40 000km3 It is impossible to say which is the smallest volcano since there are thousands of small eruptions on the ocean floor and around already established volcanoes only a few yards across Volcanoes are caused when molten rock from within the mantle breaks through the crust and flows out over the surface But volcanoes dont occur everywhere There are none in Britain at the moment although in the past 300-400 million years ago there were plenty in Wales and Scotland Volcanoes form in two places on the Earth The Earths crust is made up of a series of plates When these plates collide one can be forced below the other As this happens it is pushed into the hotter mantle and starts to melt The melting rocks rise back up through the mantle and start working their way into the crust Some will get trapped and cool slowly Others will reach the surface forming volcanoes There are other places on Earth where the crust is being heated strongly from the mantle below This can be thought of like a bunsen burner heating a pan As the Earths crustal plates move over these Hot Spots a series of volcanoes will form This combination of moving the crust over a single hot spot will create a string of volcanoes like those in Hawaii and Indonesia The line of volcanoes shows the direction the plate has moved in Once a volcanic cone has built up it might block itself up if the molten rock solidifies
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