Nature's fireworks

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 December, 2008, 12:00am

A volcano is a place where liquid rock bursts through a planet's surface. The rock is so hot that it has been melted. Volcanoes can be amazing to watch but dangerous to be near

Art inspiration

Norwegian artist Edvard Munch painted his famous masterpiece, The Scream, in late 1883 or early 1884. The colour of the sky has always puzzled critics. Now scientists think this colour is really how the sky was as the cloud caused by Krakatoa's eruption would have reached Oslo and caused amazing sunsets.

Biggest and worst

The largest volcano on Earth is Mauna Loa in Hawaii in the United States. Mauna Loa is about 10km high from sea level. The biggest volcano in our solar system is on Mars. It is called Olympus Mons. The worst volcanic eruption in history happened in Indonesia. Mount Tambora exploded in 1815, killing at least 70,000 people. It disrupted the weather so badly the northern hemisphere did not have a winter.

Ring of fire

The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area of the world that has 452 volcanoes. That is about 75 per cent of all the volcanos in the world. Ninety per cent of all the world's earthquakes happen in this area. The area is located at the edge of the Pacific Plate and other major tectonic plates.


August 27, 1883 is known as the day the world exploded. That was when Krakatoa, a volcano near Java, erupted so forcefully that it was one of the biggest explosions in recorded history. The mountain destroyed itself and caused destruction for thousands of kilometres. Not one, but two, tsunamis killed about 36,000 people. The dirt which remained in the sky caused strange coloured sunsets around the world. The clouds even made the world's temperatures drop.

Greatest light show on Earth

When volcanoes erupt they often produce fantastic storms. Great bolts of lightning pierce the volcanic cloud. No one really knows what causes this.

now do this

See if you can unscramble the name of some famous volcanoes

1) aaakkrot

2) vvuussei

3) nate

4) aabmrto

5) pe eel

6) abotunip

7) aaeiulk

8) jifu

9) eellooystn


Krakatoa, Vesuvius, Etna, Tambora, Pelee, Pinatubo, Kilauea, Fuji, Yellowstone