How Are Volcanoes Formed? Lesson for Kids

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Why Do Volcanoes Erupt? - Lesson for Kids

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 What Is A Volcano?
  • 0:49 How Are Volcanoes Formed?
  • 1:43 What's In A Volcano?
  • 2:16 Why Do Volcanoes Look…
  • 2:52 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dacia Upkins

Dacia has taught all core elementary subjects for 14 years with a Master's degree in Urban Teacher Leadership.

Volcanoes are one of Earth's most magnificent land features. In this lesson, you'll learn about volcanoes, how they're formed, what's inside them, and why some volcanoes look different than others.

What Is a Volcano?

What do you say to an upset volcano? You seem a little hot-headed right now! Heat does play a large part in the creation of volcanoes. The process starts deep within the earth, which is made of several layers, including the core in the middle, the mantle above the core, and the crust at the surface of the earth.

The top part of the mantle is made of very hot melted rock called magma. Above that is Earth's crust, which is broken in huge pieces of rock called plates. These plates float very slowly on the mantle - we're talking just a couple of centimeters a year. A volcano is a type of mountain that is created when some of that magma travels up through the plates to the earth's surface.

How Are Volcanoes Formed?

The earth's plates move in different ways, and sometimes these movements can help to create volcanoes. Sometimes, the plates collide into each other. This is called a destructive plate boundary. Other times, an oceanic plate collides with a continental plate, causing the oceanic plate to slide under the other. When this happens, some of the magma rises to the top. And when it happens over and over in the same spot, a volcano is created and grows with every eruption.

Earth's plates can also move away from each other to create a volcano. This is called a constructive plate boundary. As the plates move apart, magma rises up through the newly created gap. The magma eventually cools off, creating new crust. Just like with destructive plate boundaries, volcanoes are created this way when the process happens repeatedly in the same location.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account