Why Do Volcanoes Erupt? - Lesson for Kids

Why Do Volcanoes Erupt? - Lesson for Kids
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  • 0:04 Volcanic Eruptions
  • 1:07 Types of Eruptions
  • 1:49 Do Volcanoes Always Erupt?
  • 2:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lauren Scott

Lauren has a Master's degree in special education and has taught for more than 10 years.

If you have ever wondered why volcanoes erupt, this lesson is for you! You will learn about some of the events that lead to a volcanic eruption. As you will see, not all eruptions are alike.

Volcanic Eruptions

Imagine that your best friend plays a prank on you and shakes up your soda can when you're not looking. What happens when you open that can? Boom! Soda everywhere! This happens because gas is dissolved in the soda and kept under pressure. When you open the can, the pressure is released, and gas bubbles rush out of the can, pushing the soda out with it. No wonder it makes a mess!

Volcanic eruptions work in pretty much the same way. Nobody picks up the volcano and shakes it, but the process still depends on pressure buildup inside a liquid. In this case, the liquid is molten rock, also called magma.

As magma rises through surrounding rock, gas bubbles form and expand, causing lots of pressure. This pressure pushes the magma through weak spots in the earth's surface, or crust, causing it to flow out as lava. Lava is the name given to magma once it exits the earth's crust. This can happen slowly or in a huge explosion.

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