Volcano: Types, Distribution, Shield Volcano, Eruption, Volcano UPSC

By Balaji

Updated on: May 26th, 2023

Volcano is an opening in the earth’s crust, and through this, ash, steam, lava, gases, etc., erupts. Such openings in the earth’s crust occur where the rock strata are relatively weak. There are both explosive and non-explosive Volcanoes. On the basis of the explosive nature of the Volcano, different landforms can be formed, such as mountains (if it is explosive) and plateaus (if it’s not explosive).

The study of volcanoes, known as volcanology, encompasses a multidisciplinary exploration of their formation, eruption patterns, and the impacts they have on the environment and human civilizations. In this article, we have covered the types, distribution, and eruption of volcanoes that would be helpful during the UPSC CSE preparation.

What is Volcano?

Volcanoes are explained as mountains or landforms. Here the molten rocks appear from the planet’s surface, and Volcano mountain opens under the molten rocks pool inside the surface of the earth. In other words, a Volcano can be defined as a fissure or vent in the earth’s crust where ash, gases, lava, etc., come out

Volcano UPSC Notes

Those Volcanoes that have appeared in the recent past are named Active Volcanoes. Magma is the term used to describe the related materials and molten rocks spotted inside the earth. When the magma comes out to the surface of the earth through Volcano’s vent, it is called Lava.

Types of Volcanoes

The Volcanoes have been classified on the basis of their eruption and the form developed on the surface. We have mentioned the Types of Volcanoes below.

Shield Volcanoes

  • These are the largest Volcanoes active currently on the earth’s surface, and they are made up of basalt.
  • These Volcanoes can become explosive if water goes inside the vent. Otherwise, these are less explosive in nature.
  • The shield Volcanoes have low slopes, and they consist of frozen lavas.
  • The upcoming lava comes in fountain form and throws out the cone at the vent’s top, and develops into a cinder cone. One example of shield volcanoes is Hawaiian shield volcanoes.

Composite Volcanoes

  • Composite Volcanoes are characterized by outbreaks of viscous and cooler lavas than basalt.
  • These Volcanoes formed from many explosive eruptions.
  • The materials gathered near the openings of the vent result in the formation of layers.
  • A significant amount of ashes and pyroclastic gets wiped out with lava.

Caldera Volcanoes

  • These are known as the most explosive Volcanoes on the planet.
  • These Volcanoes are mostly explosive in nature, and during eruptions, they collapse on themselves. This collapsed depression is known as calderas.

Mid-Ocean Ridge Volcanoes

  • These Volcanoes are spotted in oceanic areas.
  • The central part of the ridge witnesses frequent eruptions

Flood Basalt Provinces

  • These Volcanoes discharge highly fluid lava that travels for long distances.
  • Many places in the world are covered by thick basalt lava flows.

Volcano: Interesting Facts

  • The formation of a Volcano is due to the eruptions of ash and lava.
  • The Volcano looks like a cone-shaped hill or mountain.
  • When the magma reaches the surface of the earth, it is referred to as lava. On cooling down on lava, it leads to the formation of rock.
  • There are some Volcanoes that can also occur inside the water.

Distribution of Volcanoes

Most of the Volcanoes are found in the three belts of the world namely- The circum-Pacific Belt (The Pacific Ring of Fire), the Mountain belt in the Middle World, and the Belt of the African Rift Valley.

  • Volcanoes are not spread over the world randomly, and most of them are found in the island chains, beneath the sea.
  • Scientists have developed a hypothesis that plate tectonics is responsible for the different locations of Volcanoes.
  • Less intense and more fluid basaltic discharges are produced by volcanoes at divergent borders.
  • Hot spot Volcanoes are the least active due to their location, and there is no sign of Volcanic activity where the continents collide.

Volcano UPSC

The study of volcanoes holds immense importance in the UPSC exam as it encompasses geographical and environmental aspects, and it is a part of the UPSC geography syllabus. Understanding the importance of volcanoes is crucial for aspirants as it covers topics such as plate tectonics, geothermal energy, volcanic hazards, and their impact on climate change.

Questions related to famous volcanic eruptions, their causes, and their effects can be asked in the exam, making it essential to have a comprehensive knowledge of volcanoes and their significance. For an effective and effective UPSC exam preparation it is highly recommended to follow the notes along with the best books.

Volcano UPSC Questions

Question: Which of the following is NOT a type of volcano? a) Shield volcano b) Composite volcano c) Cinder cone volcano d) Tectonic volcano

Answer: d) Tectonic volcano

Question: Which type of volcano has gently sloping sides and is characterized by fluid lava flows? a) Composite volcano b) Shield volcano c) Cinder cone volcano d) Stratovolcano

Answer: b) Shield volcano

Question: The explosive eruption of a volcano is primarily caused by: a) Lava flows b) Magma chamber collapse c) Effusive eruption d) Tectonic activity

Answer: b) Magma chamber collapse

UPSC Notes
PM Garib Kalyan Yojana  Credit Rating Agencies In India
Industrial Map of India  Central Administrative Tribunal
Code of Criminal Procedure Skill India Mission 
Tribunals Notes ADM Jabalpur Case
Treaty Of Versailles  National Disaster Management Authority
National Commission For Scheduled Caste Railway Protection Force


Our Apps Playstore
SSC and Bank
Other Exams
GradeStack Learning Pvt. Ltd.Windsor IT Park, Tower - A, 2nd Floor, Sector 125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201303
Home Practice Test Series Premium