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Volcanoes A volcano is a vent in the earth from which molten rock and gas erupt The molten rock that erupts from the volcano forms a hill or mountain around the vent The lava may flow out as a viscous liquid or it may explode from the vent as solid or liquid particles Three basic materials that may erupt from a volcano are lava rock fragments and gas Lava is the name for magma that has been released onto the Earths surface When lava comes to the Earths surface it is red hot and may have temperatures of more than 2012 degrees Fahrenheit Fluid lava flows swiftly down a volcanos slopes Sticky lava flows more slowly As the lava cools it may harden into many different formations Highly fluid lava hardens into smooth folded sheets of rock called pahoehoe Stickier lava cools into rough jagged sheets of rock called aa Pahoehoe and aa cover large areas of Hawaii where the terms originated The stickiest lava forms flows of boulders and rubble called block flows It may also form mounds of lava called domes Other lava formations are spatter cones and lava tubes Spatter cones are steep hills that can get up to 100 feet high They build up from the spatter of geyser-like eruptions of thick lava Lava tubes are tunnels formed from fluid lava As the lava flows its exterior covering cools and hardens But the lava below continues to flow After the flowing lava drains away it leaves a tunnel Rock fragments are usually called tephra and are formed from sticky magma This magma is so sticky that its gas cannot easily escape when the magma approaches the surface or central vent Finally the trapped gas builds up so much pressure that it blasts the magma into fragments Tephra consists of volcanic dust volcanic ash and volcanic bombs from smallest to largest size particle Volcanic dust consists of particles less than one
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