Students replicate volcanoes in their own backyard

Despite lockdown, Level 1 Earth and Space Science students have successfully completed experiments through remote learning to replicate the types of magma found in different volcanoes. Magma was created with water used to represent basalt, oil to represent andesite and syrup to represent rhyolite.  The students learned that when there is more silica in the magma it becomes more viscose. As students blew ‘gas’ (their breath) into the different substances they noticed how it changed the viscosity of the magma. The more viscous the magma, the more it traps the gases which ultimately lead to bigger volcanic explosions and different types of volcanoes. By running their magma mixtures down chopping boards, the students experimented with the way viscosity of magma impacts the shapes of the volcano, i.e. runnier basalt will form a shield volcano such as Auckland’s Rangitoto Island.

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