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Cinder Cone Volcanoes

When you think of a volcano, you probably think of the cone-shaped burnt rock spewing lava, right? If so, the specific type of volcano you are thinking of is a cinder cone volcano! 

An image of an active volcanic eruption.

A cinder cone volcano is what you typically picture in your mind when you think of volcanoes.


Cinder cone volcanoes are made up of a bunch of cinders, another name for it is “scoria”. Scoria is a less compact type of volcanic rock, or lava. A cinder cone volcano is made by the gas bubbles in the lava expanding. This causes the lava to rise up the vertical cone-shape of the volcano and spew over the top! That is how a volcanic eruption happens! 

When the lava flies into the air, it goes really high, up to 500 meters! That’s as tall as a skyscraper! Because the lava goes so high, it cools in the air. When the lava falls to the ground, it does not burn and sticks together. Instead, it stays loose and becomes the body of the volcano. 

An image of the Taipei 101 building.

When a cinder cone volcano erupts, the lava can fly as tall as the Taipei 101 skyscraper!

Over time, a cinder cone volcano will create one specific place where the lava flows out of. This place is normally circular, but it can change shape due to various reasons. One reason is if the place changes during an eruption. Another is if the wind blows during the eruption. If either of these occurs, the volcano can lose its shape and become asymmetrical. 
Here’s a helpful video about the formation of cinder cone volcanoes:


Have you ever been to Hawaii, or perhaps seen a volcano there? If so, you could have seen a cinder cone volcano! Some of the tallest cinder cone volcanoes are located there! Volcanoes along the Mauna Kea summit are hundreds of meters high, while ones in Mauna Loa and Kilauea range from 20 to 100 meters high. Topographically, Mauna Kea’s peak is actually the highest point in Hawaii.

An image of lava on Hawaii.

Volcanoes in Kilauea can range from 20 to 100 meters high.

Other Great Resources:

Types of Volcanoes: https://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/volc/types.html

‘Facts about Cinder Cones:’ https://sciencing.com/cinder-cones-5816030.html

Article with More Pictures of Cinder Cone Volcanoes: https://sciencestruck.com/cinder-cone-volcanoes

 Written by: Lindley Lund