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Volcanoes

Super Eruptions

A volcano is a rupture in the Earth’s crust which allows magma/ash/gases to escape from beneath the surface. When magma reaches the surface of the Earth, it is called lava.

Most volcanoes occur along or near the margins of tectonic plates, where plates move away from each other or collide. We have a number of resources relating to volcanoes, available from the links below and to the right. Find out about the worldwide distribution of volcanoes; historic volcanic events; and the products, prediction and hazards associated with volcanoes.

Resources from the Geological Society

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Volcanoes Factsheet

What is a volcano? Where are they and why are they there? Download our fact sheet, produced in 2012 for a broad general audience, for an overview of significant eruptions and the volcanic products that can cause such devastation.
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Online interactive resource: Plate Tectonics

An interactive web resource for students aged 14-16. Learn how plate movements form earthquakes and volcanoes, watch animations, test your knowledge and find out about UK tectonic history.
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Papers & Reports: Flood basalts & super-eruptions

Papers and reports on flood basalts, mantle plumes and mass extinctions, and super-eruptions.
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Volcanoes, molten magma… and a nice cup of tea!

Throughout Earth’s turbulent geological history, volcanoes have relentlessly erupted vast quantities of molten rock onto the Earth’s surface. Of the 1500 or so ‘active’ volcanoes around the world today, about 60 erupt each year and there are around 20 currently in eruption at any one time. But with its upper 2900km essentially solid, how does the Earth produce so much molten rock, where does it all come from and why are volcanoes confined to certain well-defined zones?

Download an article published in School Science Review (December 2012) by Pete Loader to find out more.

100 Geosites

100 Great Geosites: Fire & Ice

The UK and Ireland enjoy low tectonic activity now, but we have had an explosive history. Explore locations representing some of the most dramatic events in our geological past, from our list of 100 great geological sites.

Resources from other organisations

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Discovering Geology: Resources from the BGS

Education resources from the British Geological Survey for schools and colleges, lifelong learners or anyone interested in the Earth. Topics include geological hazards, time, climate change and the geology of Britain. Install a seismometer in your school to detect earthquakes or explore UK geology with Minecraft.