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cutaway of an erupting volcano


n. pl. vol·ca·noes or vol·ca·nos
a. An opening in the earth's crust from which lava, ash, and hot gases flow or are ejected during an eruption.
b. A similar opening on the surface of another celestial object.
2. A usually cone-shaped mountain formed from the materials issuing from such an opening.

[Italian, from Spanish volcán or Portuguese volcão, both probably from Latin volcānus, vulcānus, fire, flames, from Volcānus, Vulcan.]


See also geology; mountains.

the phenomena connected with volcanoes and volcanic activity. Also vulcanism.volcanist, n.
Geology. the scientific study of volcanoes and volcanic phenomena. Also vulcanology.volcanologist, n. — volcanologic, volcanological, adj.
References in classic literature ?
So he came at last to the stockyards, to the black volcanoes of smoke and the lowing cattle and the stench.
The kingdom is a peninsula, terminated to the north-east by a ridge of mountains thirty miles high, which are altogether impassable, by reason of the volcanoes upon the tops: neither do the most learned know what sort of mortals inhabit beyond those mountains, or whether they be inhabited at all.
There have been volcanoes, some of whose openings still send out waters of strange properties, and gases that kill or make to vivify.
I saw clearly the cultivated ranges, and the several mountain-chains that run parallel with the side, and the volcanoes that overtop Mouna-Rea, which rise 5,000 yards above the level of the sea.
Even the daily papers woke up to the disturbances at last, and popular notes appeared here, there, and everywhere concerning the volcanoes upon Mars.
Some of the deep gorges and defiles sent up sheets of flame, and clouds of lurid smoke, and sparks and cinders that in the night made them resemble the craters of volcanoes.
Our instruments enable us to perceive craters, with the inner cones so common to all our own volcanoes, giving reason to believe in the activity of innumerable burning hills at some remote period.
Skirting along the north coast of Sicily, passing through the group of Aeolian Isles, in sight of Stromboli and Vulcania, both active volcanoes, through the Straits of Messina, with "Scylla" on the one hand and "Charybdis" on the other, along the east coast of Sicily, and in sight of Mount Etna, along the south coast of Italy, the west and south coast of Greece, in sight of ancient Crete, up Athens Gulf, and into the Piraeus, Athens will be reached in two and a half or three days.
The volcanoes are dim, and the starts reel and swim
The volcanic nature of these oceanic islands is evidently an extension of that law, and the effect of those same causes, whether chemical or mechanical, from which it results that a vast majority of the volcanoes now in action stand either near sea-coasts or as islands in the midst of the sea.
If by nature you are volcanoes, at least be only smouldering ones.
It was the volcanoes Vesuvius and Etna that she meant.