Category Archives: FAQ

These are recent or frequent questions about volcanoes, volcanology, or who knows what!

I am doing research on the Santa Ana volcano in El Salvador and can’t seems to find any info about the history of Ilamatepec name, the characteristics of the typical eruption materials for that particular volcano. Can you help me?

Hello and thank you for your interest in Volcano World! Volcano World has a page on Santa Ana @ http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/volcanoes/santaana/santa_ana.html that has information about historic eruptions and eruptive products. While we have no information on the Ilamatepec name, a quick … Continue reading

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How is lava made?

Just to keep things straight, geologists use the word “magma” for molten rock that is still underground, and the word “lava” for rock that has made it to the surface.   So, you want to know how magma is made? … Continue reading

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How long does it usualy take for lava to reach the surface of the Earth?

I’m not sure anyone knows this one for sure. It depends on what volcanoes you’re thinking about. For example, in 1980 at Mt. St. Helens, the first indication that magma (we call molten rock “magma” before it reaches the surface … Continue reading

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Is it hot near a lava flow?

It depends on how close you are, what kind of lava flow it is, and whether you are upwind or downwind. For example, the most approachable lava is pahoehoe. This is because each toe forms an insulating skin seconds after … Continue reading

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Why is under ground lava called magma and then when it comes up it’s called lava?

You’ve asked a good question. I guess it was just decided that it would help to keep things straight if there were two terms. They really are talking about the same stuff (molten rock). It is just easier this way. … Continue reading

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Can you supply the addresses of volcano observatories around the world?

The best place to obtain this information is from the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO). This is a multinational organization that serves many functions within the volcanological community. The WOVO web-site (www.wovo.org) has an on-line directory that should contain … Continue reading

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How good are volcanologists at predicting eruptions?

There are two answers to this question, depending on what sort of time scale you are dealing with. If you are interested in predictions on the scale of a year or more typically it is considered impossible to predict when … Continue reading

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Where can I apply for a job as a volcanologist? Is it hard to find a job as a volcanologist?

In general, jobs in volcanology are difficult to find. This is because funding is limited and there are typically many people applying to the few jobs that are available. In reality there are only two options for employment in volcanology, … Continue reading

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What type of education do volcanologists need?

While an individual needs lots of schooling to become a volcanologist, perhaps the most important skills to obtain are those related to Earth science. Also, a basic overall understanding of computers, software and computer code could come in useful as … Continue reading

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What does a volcanologist do?

A volcanologists’ work, to say the least, can be very exciting. When talking about his volcanology career, Robert Tilling states that “the present is the key to the past – In a sense, we’re detectives, trying to decipher clues that … Continue reading

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