• WordNet 3.6
    • n volcano a fissure in the earth's crust (or in the surface of some other planet) through which molten lava and gases erupt
    • n volcano a mountain formed by volcanic material
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Mars is the home of Olympus Mons, the largest known volcano in our solar system
    • n Volcano (Geol) A mountain or hill, usually more or less conical in form, from which lava, cinders, steam, sulphur gases, and the like, are ejected; -- often popularly called a burning mountain.☞ Volcanoes include many of the most conspicuous and lofty mountains of the earth, as Mt. Vesuvius in Italy (4,000 ft. high), Mt. Loa in Hawaii (14,000 ft.), Cotopaxi in South America (nearly 20,000 ft.), which are examples of active volcanoes. The crater of a volcano is usually a pit-shaped cavity, often of great size. The summit crater of Mt. Loa has a maximum length of 13,000 ft., and a depth of nearly 800 feet. Beside the chief crater, a volcano may have a number of subordinate craters.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Japan has approximately 200 volcanoes and is home to 10% of the active volcanoes in the world
    • n volcano Volcanoes originate either in the development of a flssure in the earth's crust which releases pent-up forces within, or in the bursting of these accumulated forces through a less elongated passage and the consequent establishment of the vent. Once released these forces build up about the vent a conical heap of ejected materials which in the end may yield a mountain of great altitude and extent. Cones usually consist both of loose materials and of solid flows and dikes which have come forth as molten rock; but some cones are known which are almost if not entirely the former (cinder cones, tuff cones), and others which are chiefly the latter. The loose materials roll down from the rim both outwardly and inwardly and eventually establish themselves at their angles of repose. Thus the cross-section of a cone exhibits layers of which the outer dip away from the vent and the inner toward it. The coarser fragments are necessarily nearer the vent, and yield agglomerates and breccias. The finer materials (tuffs) lie farther out and sift down at flatter angles until gradually the slope dies out in the general surrounding level. Around the immediate vent there is thus developed a space like an inverted cone, or a bowl, the crater, which is prolonged downward in the vent or chimney, the whole being funnel-shaped in outline. The upper edge of the annular mountain surrounding the crater is called the rim; the outer portions are the slopes or flanks. The loose materials are also much carved and modified by the rains, but where they predominate they yield the symmetrical volcanic peaks such as Fuji-yama in Japan. When outbreaks of molten rock (lava) are superadded to the fragmental materials, they seldom pour out over the rim of the crater, but burst through the flanks. If they enter cracks and congeal in them, they furnish dikes, which serve like ribs to stiffen the loose materials. If they pour forth as a flood down the sides they furnish surface flows or sheets. All these become afterward buried in later outbreaks of fragmental materials until the structure of the cone is very complex. The activity of Mont Pelée, in Martinique, in 1902, was at first explosive but by March, 1903, a columnar mass of hot rock had been protruded as a great spine 500 meters above the vent, evidently starting below as a viscous mass, cooled as it emerged until it practically yielded a solid eruption called a pelélith. It disintegrated in the course of months and fell away. When lava enters very largely into the materials of the mountain, the outline is affected in a notable degree. Some lavas which have high percentages of silica (rhyolites, trachytes) are relatively infusible and are at most ropy and viscous. They well up and congeal with steep slopes and do not move far from the vent. Others which have low percentages (basalts) are very fusible and flow like water for miles. The Hawaiian cones are good examples of the latter and in consequence have very flat slopes; whereas in the Auvergne the ‘puys,’ which belong under the former, are very steep and may have no crater at all. Volcanic vents break out through the floor of the ocean (submarine eruptions) no less than on the land, and are a fruitful cause of oceanic islands. The activity of the cones is variable, and on the basis of this they are classified under several types as follows: continuously active but of corresponding moderation; intermittently active, with quiescent periods of relatively short duration and with outbreaks of notable but not maximum violence; intermittently active, with long periods of rest, followed by excessively violent eruptions. Volcanoes exhibit a marked linear distribution upon the earth's surface, and they favor continental borders more than the interiors. The greatest series of vents encircles the Pacific Ocean and reaches its culmination in Java. A location near the sea is, however, not essential, as was once the prevailing opinion, since the great Mexican cones are on the central plateau, and Kilimanjaro, an active volcano, has been discovered in Africa. Volcanic areas have shifted from time to time. Old and long extinct centers may be detected, as in Maine and southeastern Pennsylvania, which were active before the Cambrian period, while the Hebrides were the scene of enormous outbreaks in the Tertiary. The cause of volcanoes is very obscure. They are obviously connected with the internal heat of the earth. Some refer this to heat still retained from the early nebulous condition of the earth (nebular hypothesis); others to heat produced by mechanical pressure in a globe of accumulating small, cold particles (planetesimal hypothesis); while still others are increasingly inclined to look with favor upon radioactive phenomena below the surface. The localized outbreaks have been referred to contractions of the crust through loss of heat; to readjustments from the shifting of sediments; and to strains caused by the attractions of the sun and moon when in positions favorable to deformation of the globe. In a vent once established there is reason to think that the last named causes affect the periodicity of eruptions. As volcanic activity expires many important after effects are manifested, such as fumaroles, solfataras, hot springs, geysere, and the formation of mineral deposits.
    • n volcano A mountain or other elevation having at or near its apex an opening in the earth's crust from which heated materials are expelled either continuously or at regular or irregular intervals. These materials are molten rock (lava), ashes, cinders, large fragments of solid rock, mud, water, steam, and various gases. Such openings are ordinarily surrounded by more or less conical accumulations of the erupted materials, and it is to such cones that the term volcano is usually applied. The opening through which the lava rises is called the vent or chimney, and the cup-shaped enlargement of it, in its upper parts, the crater; there may be one such opening at the summit or on the flanks of the cone, or there may be a considerable number of them. In many volcanoes a central cone has upon its flanks a considerable number of minor cones (parasitic cones, as they are sometimes called). Etna has more than two hundred quite conspicuous cones within a radius of ten miles from the center of the main crater. The size and elevation of volcanoes vary greatly. The very high ones, like Cotopaxi and Popocatepetl and many others, are built up on high plateaus; others, like the extinct or dormant volcanoes of the Sierra Nevada of California, are chiefly made up of other than volcanic material, masked by the flow of eruptive matter down the slopes of a preëxisting older mass. Volcanoes and volcanic regions vary greatly in the degree of their activity and in the length and frequency of their periods of repose; those volcanoes which during the historic period have shown no signs of activity are said to be extinct, or dormant if a long interval has elapsed since the last eruption. Nothing definite was known of the volcanic forces pent up within the area covered by Vesuvius prior to a. d. 79, when the great catastrophe took place by which Pompeii was overwhelmed, and which was briefly described by Pliny the Younger in his narrative of the death of his uncle., Pliny the Elder. Volcanoes and volcanic areas are very irregularly distributed over the earth, but are chiefly in the neighborhood of the ocean. The Asiatic and the American shores of the Pacific—not continuously, but in many places—are dotted with volcanoes, from Japan to the islands of the Indian Ocean, and from Patagonia to Alaska. The most active volcanic center in the world is the island of Java and its vicinity. This island, having about the area of England, contains forty-nine great volcanic cones, some of which are 12,000 feet in height. The eruption of Krakatoa, an island in the Sunda Strait, which took place in the closing days of August, 1883, was the most violent and destructive event of the kind of which history has any record. Nearly forty thousand persons were drowned along the coast adjacent to the Strait of Sunda by waves set in motion by the inrush of water to till the cavity caused by the expulsion of material from the crater.
    • n volcano A kind of firework. See fizgig, See submarine.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: A volcano has enough power to shoot ash as high as 50 km into the atmosphere
    • n Volcano vol-kā′no a more or less conical hill or mountain, usually truncated, and communicating with the interior of the earth by a pipe or funnel, through which issue hot vapours and gases, and frequently loose fragmentary materials and streams of molten rock: a form of firework
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  • French Proverb
    French Proverb
    “Don't dance on a volcano.”
  • Havelock Ellis
    “All civilization has from time to time become a thin crust over a volcano of revolution.”
  • Benjamin Disraeli
    “You behold a range of exhausted volcanoes. Not a flame flickers on a single pallid crest.”
  • Ursula K. Le Guin
    “We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
It. volcano, vulcano, fr. L. Vulcanus, Vulkan, the god of fire. See Vulkan
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
It. volcano—L. Volcanus, Vulcanus, god of fire.


In literature:

Why then shouldn't there be volcanoes at the North Pole?
"The Voyages and Adventures of Captain Hatteras" by Jules Verne
The volcano, even in death, was ages old; its cold desolation showing plainly on the screen.
"The Finding of Haldgren" by Charles Willard Diffin
Near Toluca is an extinct volcano, the crater of which forms a large lake of unknown depth, the water being as cold as ice.
"Aztec Land" by Maturin M. Ballou
But on the upper slopes of the volcano the sunlight played, making its crater a sheen of glassy lava, intolerably bright.
"Astounding Stories of Super-Science, May, 1930" by Various
"Common Science" by Carleton W. Washburne
They will insist on talking of volcanoes.
"L'Aiglon" by Edmond Rostand
Well, I thought I must not slight the volcano Kilauea, which means the House of Everlasting Fire.
"Around the World with Josiah Allen's Wife" by Marietta Holley
She went home and meditated on volcanoes.
"The Benefactress" by Elizabeth Beauchamp
And that, as to the heroes, they are regular volcanoes every one of them?
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 367, May 1846" by Various
The desert and the volcano, for instance, have often been regarded in that light.
"God and the World" by Arthur W. Robinson

In poetry:

A weary time,—but to the strong
The day at last, as ever, came;
And the volcano, laid so long,
Leaped forth in thunder and in flame!
"The Bay-Fight" by Henry Howard Brownell
The factories gave forth lurid fires
From pent-up hells within their breast;
E'en Ætna's burning wrath expires,
But man's volcanoes never rest.
"The Factory Town" by Ernest Jones
After volcanoes husht with snows,
Up where the wide-winged condor goes,
Great Aconcagua, husht and high,
Sends down the ancient peace of the sky.
"The Christ Of The Andes" by Edwin Markham
He was duckin', and dodgin', and a-walkin' the dog,
He had me so dizzy I was lost in the fog.
And then he got busy and the things that he did
Was like a volcano that had blew off the lid.
"The Ridge-Running Roan" by Curley Fletcher
Oh! who would have thought that the soft smiling rays
Which thy bright-beaming eyes oft upon me would dart,
Could e'er have become the volcano's wild blaze,
To consume all the hopes of this once happy heart
"Then farewell, thou false one!" by Mary Anne Browne
How from the hill-top where our eyes beheld
In even ranks the plumed and bannered maize
Range its long columns, in the days of old
The live volcano shot its angry blaze,--
Dead since the showers of Noah's watery days;
"American Academy Centennial Celebration" by Oliver Wendell Holmes

In news:

Mexico's Popocatépetl volcano has been spewing ash causing authorities to raise alert level.
Dutch Harbor sits below the green rises of Makushin Volcano, and looks out onto Iliuliuk Bay.
Not a lot of new activity, but lots of news of rumblings from different volcanoes worldwide.
Unlike Mount St Helens, Volcano in Naples That Buried Pompeii Poses a Threat to Millions.
For young persons, knowledgeable engagement equals volcano power.
Kilauea volcano's Halemaumau crater lava lake rising to highest-ever levels.
Rises to within 150 to 165 feet of top of crater, says Hawaii Volcano Observatory.
Kilauea Volcano lava lake reaches record height.
Magma pooling below Atlantis-myth volcano.
2014 study of volcano's magma system will be among world's largest.
Volcano Above the Clouds homepage.
Vistor quality good despite volcano interruption.
Few visitors make it to the top of the towering volcano, but those who do enjoy a commanding view.
Ask students to explain why they think communities settle near active volcanoes.
Learning as much as you can about a volcano's previous behavior is the main key to long-term prediction.

In science:

ALMA will also provide time and velocity resolved images of the SO and SO2 molecules emitted from the volcanoes on Io.
ALMA Capabilities for Observations of Spectral Line Emission
The shape of the potential is like famous Volcano type.
Localization of massive fermions on the baby-skyrmion branes in 6 dimensions
We end up with everything inside the volcano in its ground state, all the information transmitted out in the photon wave function.
Holographic Space-Time Does Not Predict Firewalls
This equipment will also be used by the forward calorimeter (FCAL) test-bench and a geological volcano survey at Clermont-Ferrant.
Calorimetry for Lepton Collider Experiments - CALICE results and activities
Secondly the on-axis direction does not present a volcano shape and the central peak is dominant.
High angular resolution coronography for adaptive optics