This is an image of Mt. St. Helens, in Washington, USA.
Click on image for full size
Image from: USGS, courtesy of Volcano World


Volcanoes are large eruptions that come from deep in the Earth's core. When they erupt, they spew out lava which flows out until it hardens into rock. There are presently thousands of volcanoes, but only a few of them ever become large enough to cause massive destruction. Scientists are sometimes able to predict volcanoes, but they have no exact theory of why one might erupt.

You might also be interested in:


Pele is a fire goddess according to the people of Hawaii. She is savage and wrathful and resides in the crater of the volcano Kilauea. It is said that one day Kamapua'a, a pig god of Hawaii mythology,...more

Impact Craters on Earth

Compared with other planets, impact craters are rare surface features on Earth. There are two main reasons for the low number of craters. One is that our atmosphere burns up most meteoroids before they...more

Surface and Interior of Earth

Earth, the largest rocky planet, was formed about 4.5 billion years ago. The Earth's interior is divided into four layers which is typical of rocky planets. It is cool on the surface but very hot deep...more

Surface of the Earth

Underneath the water that fills the oceans, and the dirt and plants that cover the land, the Earth's surface layer is made of rock. Long ago, this rocky outer layer of Earth formed a hard crust when lava...more


Clouds are the pretty white fluffs you see in the sky. They are made up of tiny water drops. Sometimes, if the wind is fast enough, you can even watch the clouds move. Clouds can come in all sizes and...more

How Hurricanes Form

One in a while, a tropical thunderstorm grows and grows, becoming a giant hurricane. First the storm grows a little bit. It combines with other thunderstorms and they all spin around an area of low pressure....more

Hurricane Movement

Each hurricane moves across the ocean and usually hits the land too. How do we know which way a hurricane will go? Several different things control where a hurricane goes. † Global winds carry hurricanes...more

Storm Surge

One of the most dangerous parts of a hurricane isnít the rain or the wind. Itís the flooding caused by storm surge. As a hurricane or other tropical storm moves towards a coast, it can cause sea level...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA