Earth’s Surface Features Water covers about three-fourths of the earth’s surface. It is mainly contained in the ocean, but also in groundwater, rivers, streams, and lakes, as well as glaciers and polar ice caps. Landforms cover about one-fourth of the earth’s surface. They include mountains, hills, plains, and plateaus.
Cinder Cones, sometimes called Scoria cones, are the most common type of volcano. Cinder cones are the smallest type of volcano. They are circular or oval shaped and their crater is bowl shaped. These volcanoes grow very fast until they reach their maximum height. Cinder cone volcanoes form from small, jagged pieces of rock and ash, also known as cinders, thrown in the air during an explosion. An example of a cinder cone volcano is in Mexico, called the Paricutin. It started growing in 1943, and in just five days, the volcano had grown to 300 feet!
Shield cone volcanoes are huge; some of the largest volcanoes in the world are shield volcanoes. They are built mainly from lava flows. After an eruption the lava flows out of the vents and creates sloping sides. Their shape is similar to a warrior’s shield. When a shield volcano erupts it is not usually explosive. Sometimes instead of lava flowing from the vents of a shield cone, the lava pours out of long fissures, which is why they are so wide. The most famous shield cone volcanoes are the Hawaiian Islands. Mauna Loa is the world’s largest shield cone volcano and also the most active!
Composite cone volcanoes are sometimes called stratovolcanoes. These volcanoes form from layers of melted rock. They are steep-sided, and cone shaped. Some of the most beautiful mountains in the world are composite volcanoes. This type of volcano usually erupts in a very explosive way, from the viscous magma. The viscous magma gets stuck in the pipes and is trapped. This causes the pressure to increase, which causes an explosive eruption. The composite cone is the most deadly type of volcano. Mt. St. Helens is a very famous example of a composite volcano.