Science Behind Volcanic Smoke Rings

Vannessa | 05 - 08 - 2023
Volcano and Smoke ring

The Life Cycle of Volcanoes 

Initially, the earth’s crust was partitioned into seven major tectonic plates floating on a dense layer of magma-molten rock called the mantle. Volcanoes are formed when two tectonic plates drift apart. 

A volcano refers to a vent or a rupture in the earth’s crust.  A hot liquid called magma lies inside the volcano when it gets hotter it rises and accumulates in a space called a Magma chamber. Based on the movement of the plates, the magma rises above, the pressure develops, and eventually, it escapes out through the vent. The density of the magma varies due to factors like temperature, dissolved gases, and silica content. Besides the explosion, these factors induce whether the condensed gases could escape the volcano to form rings.

In the process of eruption, the magma rises and emerges out of the volcano, when it reaches the earth’s surface it is known as Lava.

How many major tectonic plates are there?
  • A. One
  • B. Three
  • C. Five
  • D. Seven

Once it settles on the surface, slowly it cools down and hardens to create an additional layer on the earth. Gradually, for every occurrence of eruptions, each layer builds up on the top of the earth’s crust which eventually forms a mountain called a volcano.

Some volcanoes rise from underwater and in due course they rise to form islands. Furthermore, the vortex rings form when there is no occurrence of eruptions. 

Science Behind Volcanic Smoke Rings

Volcanic smoke rings are quite difficult to examine as it dissolves into thin air as soon as it blows out.

Smoke rings are toroidal vortices that form when a mixture of condensed gas, majorly water vapor, and pyroclasts accelerated from the Volcanic rupture. Since the water vapor is warmer and thinner than the surrounding air, it erupts in the air and expands to a circular vent. It could last up to 10 minutes. 

In anticipation of producing a smoke ring the volcano’s opening must be circular or slightly cracked because a contorted opening would not form smoke rings. This process is literally similar to the smoke blown by a smoker.

Though there are plenty of theories on vortex rings, the exact phenomena inside the volcano remain unknown. No wonder, Nature is mysterious.

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