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Geosciences LibreTexts

4: Volcanism

A volcano is any location where magma comes to the surface, or has done so within the past several million years. This can include eruptions on the ocean floor (or even under the water of lake), where they are called subaqueous eruptions, or on land, where they are called subaerial eruptions. Not all volcanic eruptions produce the volcanic mountains with which we are familiar; in fact most of Earth’s volcanism takes place along the spreading ridges on the sea floor and does not produce volcanic mountains at all — not even sea-floor mountains.

Thumbnail: 10-meter (33 ft) high fountain of pāhoehoe lava, Hawaii, United States. Image used with permission (Public domain; Mbz1).