Random Facts: Volcanoes

In Ancient Rome, August 23 was the date of Vulcanalia, the Feast Day celebrating Vulcan, god of fire in general and volcanic fire in particular.

Appropriately enough, August 23 was the day the great eruption of Vesuvius began in AD79.

Most of Earth’s surface had a volcanic origin and there are still more than 1,500 active volcanoes in the world.

Volcanoes are most often found where Earth’s tectonic plates meet, leaving gaps through which gas, magma and ash can flow to the surface. Magma is the hot, liquid rock inside a volcano which emerges during an eruption as lava.

Lava can flow at more than 60mph.

The eruption of Krakatau in Indonesia in 1883 is thought to have produced the loudest sound ever heard by humans.

The Icelandic volcanic island of Surtsey emerged after an undersea eruption in 1963. It is named after a mythological Norse fire giant, Surt.

In the Middle Ages many believed that volcanoes were entrances to the Underworld.