GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Volcanic eruption. Cut-away artwork of the eruption of a composite volcano (or stratovolcano). This type of volcano forms when a conduit allows magma (molten rock) from a chamber in the Earth's crust to reach the surface. The cone is built up as successive eruptions deposit layers of lava, ash and rock. As the volcano grows, solidified lava strengthens and protects the cone. When the volcano becomes dormant and erodes, it leaves behind solidified magma from the conduit (the volcanic plug). Well-known composite volcanoes include Mount Fuji in Japan and Mount St. Helens in the USA.
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