5 interesting facts about volcanoes
A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a pool of molten rock below the surface of the Earth. When pressure builds up, eruptions occur.
In an eruption, gases and rock shoot up through the opening and spill over or fill the air with lava fragments. Eruptions can cause lava flows, hot ash flows, mudslides, avalanches, falling ash and floods.
The danger area around a volcano covers about a 20-mile radius.
Fresh volcanic ash, made of pulverized rock, can be harsh, acidic, gritty, glassy and smelly. The ash can cause damage to the lungs of older people, babies and people with respiratory problems.
Volcanic lightning occurs mostly within the cloud of ash during an eruption, and is created by the friction of the ash rushing to the surface. About 200 accounts of this lightning have been witnessed live.