Answering the Big Question: What causes a volcano to erupt?

What Causes A Volcano To Erupt? 3 Approved Reasons | Future Education Magazine


Ever thought of what causes a volcano to erupt? How are they formed? What does a volcano mean even? Volcanic eruptions are one of the most jaw-dropping natural realities in the world. The main logic behind what causes a volcano to erupt is the method by which the heat moves beneath the earth’s crust. The transfer of heat via relocation, the heat is shifted from the interior to the surface. The magma- or molten rock is partially formed due to the melting of the earth’s mantle or crust.

The magma rises due to the heat-releasing technique, resulting in an eruption in the form of a volcano. The heat release is the last step in the eruption of a volcano. Volcanoes release, hot steam, ash, gases, and hot rock liquid called lava. The majority of volcanoes erupt on the edges of tectonic plates, both in the ocean and on land.

When a volcano happens on land, the tectonic plate moves one below the other. When a volcano occurs in the ocean, a heavy oceanic plate moves under a thicker continental plate. As this happens the oceanic plate gets sunk inside the mantle.

Here Are 3 Reasons For What Causes A Volcano To Erupt:

1. Melting causes the eruption

What Causes A Volcano To Erupt? 3 Approved Reasons | Future Education Magazine

The magma formation happens when the earth’s lower crust and upper mantle begin to melt. A volcano acts as an opening for the magma and dissolved gases present inside that are discharged. What causes a volcano to erupt is answered by three predominant: the pressure from the exsolved gases in the magma, intrusion of a new batch of magma into an already magma-existing chamber, and the ability to float.

2. Extreme High temperatures

The temperatures of the molten magma, the soot, and the smoke coming out of it will cause damage to the humans’ and animals’ surviving environment. Due to the shift in plates of fissures inside the earth, volcanoes are caused by these internal disturbances resulting in molten magma. These are the reasons that cause a volcano to erupt.

3. Continental plates shift

In the study of what causes a volcano to erupt, it is found that the shift that happens at the earth’s crust and mantle, beneath the surface is the lava with high temperatures. Due to the shift, a gap is formed between the crust and mantle. A space is available for the magma to rise up and it comes up to the surface of the earth.

Volcanic hazards

While talking about what causes a volcano to erupt, an important point of concern becomes the hazards that it creates. The main cause is the disturbances in the continental plates, the liquid formation takes place resulting in magma eruption. A volcanic hazard refers to the after-effects that the volcano leaves on the environment and on mankind. While studying what causes a volcano to erupt, the hazards it creates is also an important discussion as the effects of volcanic eruptions are huge.

What Causes A Volcano To Erupt? 3 Approved Reasons | Future Education Magazine

5 Volcanic Hazards As Follows:

1. Emission of gases

Gases of various types can be secreted, by active volcanoes, before or after the eruption. Health hazards due to these gases are common, they also have the potential to spoil the environment. Gases like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfate, hydrogen chloride, and hydrogen fluoride are emitted, which cause respiratory issues. Exposure to these gases can cause damage to the skin and eyes.

2. Flood basalts

Flood basalts are rare and not found often when volcanoes erupt. Based on past studies, these have been found in Deccan traps of India and Siberian traps. The impacts of these eruptions are large, to specify, the impact is as large as one million square kilometers. The thickness is up to one square kilometer, which impacts the large release of gas.

3. Pyroclastic flows

These are hot-intensity currents that contain rock debris and gas that flow parallel to the ground at high speeds. They tend to flow down on sloppy terrains like valleys, hillsides, or any ground that goes downwards. The temperatures of these pyroclastic flows can range from 100 degrees Celsius to 600 degrees Celsius. The speed is also as fast as 110 kilometers per hour or more when on a slope-type terrain.

4. Lava domes and flows

What Causes A Volcano To Erupt? 3 Approved Reasons | Future Education Magazine

These flows are of magma secreted out of the volcano. Lives are not endangered by the lava secretion, as it flows slowly. Due to the slow speed, people can easily exit the spot and be safe. But, the route of the lava flow, is destroyed by making combinations of crushing, heating, and burials. Emissions of aerosols and volcanic gases are associated with such eruptions.

5. Landslides and debris avalanche

These cannot be necessarily caused by volcanic eruptions but can be caused by the same. They can be however triggered by a volcanic activity or dome collapse. In heavy rainfall areas, these things are common. These landslides tend to travel through valleys and can travel large distances far beyond their areas of source. The impact of debris avalanches cannot be reduced easily as they occur without any warning signs, even on dormant volcanoes, and can cause havoc in large areas. The speed with which they travel is too fast, resulting in creating impossible circumstances to evacuate areas of the paths of debris.


Volcano eruptions are too destructive causing. Along with health hazards, it also possesses elements of causing harm to nature or the environment we live in. Due to excess pollution and heat, humans can suffer from problems like respiratory issues, skin infections, and even death, which is the end result. On the environmental front, excessive air pollution, gas emissions, and, heat in the environment resulting in continuous high temperatures are some of the health hazards. Try to be out of the volcano-prone areas as much as possible. If a volcano erupts, be out of the vicinity as soon as possible, and help elders and children especially to do so.   

Also Read: Interesting Facts about the History of the Great Wall of China you should know

Most Popular Stories