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Science Project Idea: Amazing Natural Disasters :: Volcanoes

Wanna do a REALLY COOL science fair project this year? Look no further than Mother Nature herself - she's been known to have some pretty bad days! This Amazing Natural Disaster project includes facts and info about volcanoes, the science behind them and helpful suggestions for other things to research, make, draw, create and include in your project!

Volcanoes: Lava Life

Our planet should be called Volcano Central. As you read this 20 or so volcanoes are erupting somewhere on Earth. This planet is studded with about 500 active volcanoes, and about 50 or more erupt every year. Some are one-day wonders; others have been erupting for thousands of years.

Volcanoes are holes or tears in the Earth’s crust out of which hot lava, gases and ash ooze or shoot. The most common kind of volcano on Earth (and one of the most explosive) is called a stratovolcano, and it can shoot ash, cinders and lava skyward. It can also send a deadly mix of gases, ash and rock – called a pyroclastic flow - racing down its slopes at hurricane speeds. When a stratovolcano erupts, it’s best to be somewhere (anywhere) else!

Make Messy Volcanoes

Follow these step-by-step instructions to make your very own volcano at home – just be sure to have a hose handy to clean up the mess when you’re done!

  1. Fill a big (one-quart sized) re-sealable plastic bag one-third full of a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar (half water, half white vinegar).
  2. Scoop baking soda into a big tablespoon.
  4. You’ll need a friend to help you with this part: it the spoon inside the plastic bag without letting any of the baking soda spill or touch the liquid inside. Do this by having your friend hold onto one side of the bag while you hold onto the other. Gently lower the spoon of baking soda into the bag and use the hand you’re holding onto the bag with to grab the spoon handle from the outside of the bag. Now your original hand that was holding the spoons should be free.
  5. Use your free hand to seal the bag tight. DON’T LET GO OF THE SPOON!
  6. When you’re ready, dump the baking soda into the liquid. Put the bag on the ground and stand back. You have about 10 seconds to get out of the way!

Other Things To Include

You didn’t think we’d do all of the work for ya, did you? You’ll definitely have to do some legwork to make this science fair project complete. Here are some suggestions for what else you can do:

  • Research and tell the story of the ancient city of Pompei.
  • Make your own Volcano Hall Of Fame & Fun Facts, including some of the following explosive topics: Mexico’s Paricutin volcano; volcanic bombs; the varying chemical composition and temperature of lava; and black smokers.

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What Would You Sacrifice Into a Volcano?

  • Your younger sibling.
  • Spot or Fluffy.
  • Your O-Town CD.
  • Your toothbrush.

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