American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An opening in the earth's crust through which molten lava, ash, and gases are ejected.
- n. A similar opening on the surface of another planet.
- n. A mountain formed by the materials ejected from a volcano.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Volcanoes originate either in the development of a flssure in the earth's crust which releases pent-up forces within, or in the bursting of these accumulated forces through a less elongated passage and the consequent establishment of the vent. Once released these forces build up about the vent a conical heap of ejected materials which in the end may yield a mountain of great altitude and extent. Cones usually consist both of loose materials and of solid flows and dikes which have come forth as molten rock; but some cones are known which are almost if not entirely the former (cinder cones, tuff cones), and others which are chiefly the latter. The loose materials roll down from the rim both outwardly and inwardly and eventually establish themselves at their angles of repose. Thus the cross-section of a cone exhibits layers of which the outer dip away from the vent and the inner toward it. The coarser fragments are necessarily nearer the vent, and yield agglomerates and breccias. The finer materials (tuffs) lie farther out and sift down at flatter angles until gradually the slope dies out in the general surrounding level. Around the immediate vent there is thus developed a space like an inverted cone, or a bowl, the crater, which is prolonged downward in the vent or chimney, the whole being funnel-shaped in outline. The upper edge of the annular mountain surrounding the crater is called the rim; the outer portions are the slopes or flanks. The loose materials are also much carved and modified by the rains, but where they predominate they yield the symmetrical volcanic peaks such as Fuji-yama in Japan. When outbreaks of molten rock (lava) are superadded to the fragmental materials, they seldom pour out over the rim of the crater, but burst through the flanks. If they enter cracks and congeal in them, they furnish dikes, which serve like ribs to stiffen the loose materials. If they pour forth as a flood down the sides they furnish surface flows or sheets. All these become afterward buried in later outbreaks of fragmental materials until the structure of the cone is very complex. The activity of Mont Pelée, in Martinique, in 1902, was at first explosive but by March, 1903, a columnar mass of hot rock had been protruded as a great spine 500 meters above the vent, evidently starting below as a viscous mass, cooled as it emerged until it practically yielded a solid eruption called a pelélith. It disintegrated in the course of months and fell away. When lava enters very largely into the materials of the mountain, the outline is affected in a notable degree. Some lavas which have high percentages of silica (rhyolites, trachytes) are relatively infusible and are at most ropy and viscous. They well up and congeal with steep slopes and do not move far from the vent. Others which have low percentages (basalts) are very fusible and flow like water for miles. The Hawaiian cones are good examples of the latter and in consequence have very flat slopes; whereas in the Auvergne the ‘puys,’ which belong under the former, are very steep and may have no crater at all. Volcanic vents break out through the floor of the ocean (submarine eruptions) no less than on the land, and are a fruitful cause of oceanic islands. The activity of the cones is variable, and on the basis of this they are classified under several types as follows: continuously active but of corresponding moderation; intermittently active, with quiescent periods of relatively short duration and with outbreaks of notable but not maximum violence; intermittently active, with long periods of rest, followed by excessively violent eruptions. Volcanoes exhibit a marked linear distribution upon the earth's surface, and they favor continental borders more than the interiors. The greatest series of vents encircles the Pacific Ocean and reaches its culmination in Java. A location near the sea is, however, not essential, as was once the prevailing opinion, since the great Mexican cones are on the central plateau, and Kilimanjaro, an active volcano, has been discovered in Africa. Volcanic areas have shifted from time to time. Old and long extinct centers may be detected, as in Maine and southeastern Pennsylvania, which were active before the Cambrian period, while the Hebrides were the scene of enormous outbreaks in the Tertiary. The cause of volcanoes is very obscure. They are obviously connected with the internal heat of the earth. Some refer this to heat still retained from the early nebulous condition of the earth (nebular hypothesis); others to heat produced by mechanical pressure in a globe of accumulating small, cold particles (planetesimal hypothesis); while still others are increasingly inclined to look with favor upon radioactive phenomena below the surface. The localized outbreaks have been referred to contractions of the crust through loss of heat; to readjustments from the shifting of sediments; and to strains caused by the attractions of the sun and moon when in positions favorable to deformation of the globe. In a vent once established there is reason to think that the last named causes affect the periodicity of eruptions. As volcanic activity expires many important after effects are manifested, such as fumaroles, solfataras, hot springs, geysere, and the formation of mineral deposits.
- n. A mountain or other elevation having at or near its apex an opening in the earth's crust from which heated materials are expelled either continuously or at regular or irregular intervals. These materials are molten rock (lava), ashes, cinders, large fragments of solid rock, mud, water, steam, and various gases. Such openings are ordinarily surrounded by more or less conical accumulations of the erupted materials, and it is to such cones that the term volcano is usually applied. The opening through which the lava rises is called the vent or chimney, and the cup-shaped enlargement of it, in its upper parts, the crater; there may be one such opening at the summit or on the flanks of the cone, or there may be a considerable number of them. In many volcanoes a central cone has upon its flanks a considerable number of minor cones (parasitic cones, as they are sometimes called). Etna has more than two hundred quite conspicuous cones within a radius of ten miles from the center of the main crater. The size and elevation of volcanoes vary greatly. The very high ones, like Cotopaxi and Popocatepetl and many others, are built up on high plateaus; others, like the extinct or dormant volcanoes of the Sierra Nevada of California, are chiefly made up of other than volcanic material, masked by the flow of eruptive matter down the slopes of a preëxisting older mass. Volcanoes and volcanic regions vary greatly in the degree of their activity and in the length and frequency of their periods of repose; those volcanoes which during the historic period have shown no signs of activity are said to be extinct, or dormant if a long interval has elapsed since the last eruption. Nothing definite was known of the volcanic forces pent up within the area covered by Vesuvius prior to a. d. 79, when the great catastrophe took place by which Pompeii was overwhelmed, and which was briefly described by Pliny the Younger in his narrative of the death of his uncle., Pliny the Elder. Volcanoes and volcanic areas are very irregularly distributed over the earth, but are chiefly in the neighborhood of the ocean. The Asiatic and the American shores of the Pacific—not continuously, but in many places—are dotted with volcanoes, from Japan to the islands of the Indian Ocean, and from Patagonia to Alaska. The most active volcanic center in the world is the island of Java and its vicinity. This island, having about the area of England, contains forty-nine great volcanic cones, some of which are 12,000 feet in height. The eruption of Krakatoa, an island in the Sunda Strait, which took place in the closing days of August, 1883, was the most violent and destructive event of the kind of which history has any record. Nearly forty thousand persons were drowned along the coast adjacent to the Strait of Sunda by waves set in motion by the inrush of water to till the cavity caused by the expulsion of material from the crater.
- n. A kind of firework. See fizgig, See submarine.
- n. A vent or fissure on the surface of a planet (usually in a mountainous form) with a magma chamber attached to the mantle of a planet or moon, periodically erupting forth lava and volcanic gases onto the surface.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Geol.) A mountain or hill, usually more or less conical in form, from which lava, cinders, steam, sulphur gases, and the like, are ejected; -- often popularly called a
- n. a fissure in the earth's crust (or in the surface of some other planet) through which molten lava and gases erupt
- n. a mountain formed by volcanic material
- From Italian vulcano, from Latin Vulcanus ("Vulcan") the Roman god of fire and metalworking. Perhaps related to Ancient Greek πῦρ (pyr, "fire") and καίειν (kaiein, "to burn") (Wiktionary)
- Italian, from Spanish volcán or Portuguese volcão, both probably from Latin volcānus, vulcānus, fire, flames, from Volcānus, Vulcan. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“If under the term volcano be included all mountains which have been in a state of eruption within the historical period, those which have a true volcanic form, together with those that still exhibit on their flanks matter ejected from a crater, we may conclude that there are at least 100 such mountains in the Japanese empire.”
“The summit of the volcano is around 5000 ft (1650 m) above sea level.”
“Yesterday, scientists issued what they call a volcano advisory, that is the highest warning before an eruption.”
“And some think the tourism volcano is just beginning its trembles.”
“From California produce to New England seafood, the ash cloud from the Iceland volcano is taking its toll on U.S. businesses.”
“A volcano is not a sprint game, it is marathon game.”
“The flood that began Thursday at the Grimsvotn volcano is similar to one in 2004 that lasted five days and ended with an eruption that disrupted European air traffic, a University of Iceland geophysicist said.”
“But many go back to check on their homes and cattle during the day, at times when the volcano is most calm.”
“The Lassen volcano is a much-visited national park.”
“This dormant volcano is a prefect cone with an awsome crater.”
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