Volcano Types: How are Composite Volcanoes Formed? (page 2)

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Author: Janice VanCleave


  1. Would more openings in the clay affect the results? Repeat the experiment, adding a third hole and a straw. Besides the main vent, some volcanoes may have smaller vents called side vents. Science Fair Hint: Photographs of the original experiment with its single vent, along with photographs of the multivent volcano, can be displayed.
  2. Does the temperature of the water inside and outside the jar affect the results? Prepare a data chart as shown on the next page. Repeat the original experiment three times using the combinations in the data chart. The combination from the original experiment has been added as an example.


A cross section of a composite volcano often shows alternating layers of solidified lava and rock particles. This is the result of quiet eruptions in which lava was produced followed by a violent eruption that blew out ash and rock fragments. Use different colors of modeling clay to construct a cross-section model of a composite volcano. Press small rocks into the layer representing the rock fragment layer. This model can be used as part of a project display.


Some of the tallest volcanoes are composite volcanoes, but there are other types, such as cinder cone, shield, and volcanic dome. Find out more about the four types of volcanoes. Which type is called a stratovolcano? Mount Rainier, in the state of Washington, is an example of a composite volcano. Discover the names and locations of other volcanoes representing each type.

Volcano Types

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