1st ESO

3rd ESO

4th ESO

Biology 2nd Baccalaureate

Index by courses



Skip navigation

15.2.1. Types of volcanoes

Hawaiian type

This type of volcano emits a very fluid lava, without explosive eruptions, since the gases escape easily. The volcano is shaped like a shield, since as lava is very fluid, it easily slides over the slope of the volcano, covering a large area before solidifying. Therefore, these volcanoes have a low slope, being much more extensive than high .

The lava is emitted over 1000 °C temperature. As the explosivity is low, the greatest risk is lava flows, which can bury cities, roads, etc. Example: Kilauea volcano.

Strombolian or mixed type

There is alternation of expelled materials, forming a volcanic cone (strattovolcano) stratified with fluid lavas and pyroclasts.

The lava is emitted at temperatures below 1000 °C, whereby the lava is less fluid than the Hawaiian and explosions occur, but can reach up to 12 km flow traveling before solidifying. The greatest risk is the fall of pyroclasts (lapillis and ash). Example: the Stromboli volcano and the Cumbre Vieja (La Palma), which erupted in 2021.

Volcán Estrómboli

By blucolt (stromboli) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Vulcan type

Its lavas are not very fluid and the gases are released violently. These eruptions are characterized by the large amounts of gases that are emitted, which cause strong explosions that can destroy part of the volcanic cone, pulverizing the lava and producing a lot of ash.

The lava solidifies quickly, leaving a rough and irregular surface. Volcanic cones have a very steep slope. The explosiveness in these volcanoes is high, the fiery clouds that can be produced being the greatest risk. Lava is expelled at temperatures below 800ºC. Example: Vulcano (Sicily).

Parque Nacional del Timanfaya (Lanzarote)

Parque Nacional del Timanfaya (Lanzarote)

Plinian or Vesuvian type

In these eruptions, the pressure of the gases is very strong and produces violent explosions. The fiery clouds can bury cities, as happened in Pompeii and Herculaneum with the volcano Vesuvius.

Pompeya. En las excavaciones encontraron huecos en la ceniza que habían contenido restos humanos. En 1860, decidieron rellenarlos con yeso.

Pompeya. Imagen de Andrew Mason. CC

Pyroclastic eruptions alternate with lava flows, forming strata that make the volcano reach great dimensions. Its explosiveness and danger are extreme, emitting many gases and pyroclasts that can reach more than 20 km in height . Ash can reach the stratosphere and alter the climate. Explosions can destroy the volcanic cone. Examples: TeideFujiyama.

Parque Nacional del Teide

Parque Nacional del Teide (Tenerife)

Answer in your notebook

15.3.- What does it depend on whether the eruption of a volcano is more or less dangerous?


Legal warning






Follow us if it has been useful to you

Biology and Geology teaching materials for Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO) and Baccalaureate students.