What are volcanoes and what should your children know about them?

If you look around you and observe the wonderful nature that surrounds us, you will be able to see some vestiges of ancient inactive volcanoes. For all those who wonder what are volcanoes, it is important to know, in addition to their origin, how they work and why they are so spectacular to see in full action (although we have to do it through television so as not to burn to death).

What is a volcano

Rock, magma and fire! Volcanoes are points on the earth's surface through which the materials contained in the interior of the Earth (gases, lava, magma, pyroclastic flows... ). This type of fissures present in the crust (first layer of the earth) are found at various heights, such as, for example, in the form of mountains or hills. However, its interior awaits different parts that can reach depths of up to 700 km and reach temperatures of 1200 °C, a temperature that would scorch Elsa from Frozen herself.

How does a volcano work

To know how a volcano works, it is important to know that this opening in the Earth is made up of the following parts:

  • Magmatic chamber: is the heart of the volcano. It accumulates lava and molten rock from the asthenosphere and the lithosphere, two terrestrial layers located between the crust and the mantle, with a limit of 700 km in depth. The high temperatures and pressure cause the magma inside the Earth to be forced to rise and find an outlet on the Earth's surface.
  • Chimney: is the interior conduit that goes from the magma chamber to the crater. As if it were a kind of neck, the magma from the magma chamber ascends through the chimney. Although all volcanoes have a main vent, small lateral vents can also appear next to it, created by the internal pressure of the volcano.
  • Crater: funnel-shaped, it is the mouth or exit that leads to the outside. It is located at the top of the volcano and is the visible part through which we see the eruptions of lava, ash, vapors and gases.
  • Cone: the cone has been formed by the accumulation of ash and lava from previous eruptions. It gives the volcano its characteristic shape.

How to learn how a volcano works from home

From home it is possible to know how a volcano works. If what you want is to easily explain what a volcano is for children, these experiments or games can help you and your little ones better understand how it works:

  • National Geographic Science Game Build Your Own Vulcano: Building your own volcano has never been so easy and fun. This kit includes an authentic volcanic rock, a plaster cast, paints to decorate it and a learning guide. The best way to understand the explanation of a volcano.
  • Homemade volcano with baking soda: although it may not be as visually attractive as the almighty Italian Etna, this homemade volcano is an excellent children's experiment with which you can surprise your little ones. Add a little water and baking soda to a plastic bottle. If you want, you can also add red food coloring to make it look like lava. Finally, pour a good stream of vinegar over the mixture and... Explosion! The vinegar, when in contact with the water and baking soda, will act as a reagent and cause a small-scale eruption.

Now that you know the most important things about volcanoes, it will be much easier for you to explain to your children what the parts of a volcano are, why they spit fire from time to time, and how you can put into practice some of the best home experiments to find out how it works. They will be melted!

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