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Lava Domes: what is it?

Lava domes are found in volcanic regions throughout the world. They are unique and different in a lot of ways than other volcanic activities. According to openei.org, “Lava domes, also known as volcanic domes, are bulbous mounds formed via the slow eruption of viscous lava from a volcano.” For example, lava domes can be compared to your toothpaste. When you press the tube, the toothpaste comes out of the tube and sits on the top, right? Lava domes are just like that, the lava comes out and sit on the top as it builds up around the vent. Sometimes if the eruption is too strong, the lava might flow out the vent.

Lava domes can be single events or they may form many eruptions that build upon each other, they can form anywhere where there is volcanic activity and they are found in many shapes/sizes.

In the view of this, lava dome can erupt once or they can erupt multiple times and build on top of the previous dome around the vent, making it huge. The length of time greatly varies. Some lava domes can grow within hours or days and other might take several years; some even take 100 years; lava domes evolve unpredictably. An example could be Mount St. Helens lava dome in Skamania County, Washington. To illustrate, Lava dome can form anywhere where there are volcanic activities. They are most of the time found inside the hole of huge volcanoes, such as “Mount St. Helens”. They commonly take place on the flanks of volcanoes. Furthermore, lava domes can be remote or the can be in ranges like mountain ranges. Primarily what decides where a lava dome will form is the magmatic plumbing system that supplies them.

Additionally, the sizes, shapes, and forms of lava domes greatly vary. However, they are generally steep-sided and thick. The thickness can extend anywhere from a few meters to almost one kilometer in height. And the diameter can be from a few meters to many kilometers. They can take on many forms, such as Tortas, Peleean, Upheaved Plugs, and occasionally they take on Coulee between the lava flow and lava dome. Tortas are round shaped and have a flat top. They are largely found in the Andes mountains of South America. They commonly erupt on flatlands. For that reason, the lava sometimes can get out the vent, but not too far. Peleean is another type which is round shaped also, but has a harp top. They are steeper than the other types of lava domes. Also, upheaved plugs are bucked shaped and rare. Their eruptions are stronger than other types of lava domes and that’s why the lava can sometimes go fur from the vent. Consequently, lava dome can be dangerous sometimes. When a lava dome becomes too large or tall, it might collapse and can push out a deadly force of currents throughout the region. For example, in 1902, a lava dome collapsed at Mount Pelee, killing almost all the citizens.

To sum up, lava domes are common in the volcano world. Lava dome can erupt once or they can erupt multiple times, they can form anywhere within the volcanic region and they come in many sizes, shapes, and forms. Lava domes are cool!

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