Volcano Project: Finding the Truth about Lava Flows

Article excerpt

Looking for volcanoes

This project was suggested because they are part of the curriculum, and come up in geography Key Stage 3 - "the global distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes and their relationship with the boundaries of the crustal plates . . . the nature, causes and effects of volcanic eruptions . . . human responses to the volcanic hazard".

Encarta CD-Rom, 9/10. Again, quite a number of good pictures plus a very good animation plus voice-over describing the magma swelling up and explosion noises in the background. There was also a map of the ocean floor showing the main areas of activity - directly answering part of the question - and more details on the "ring of fire" around the Pacific. Plus clear descriptions on lava flow, types of lava, types of volcano, etc. Geography teachers should come to know these entries well. Encarta on-line, 3/10. A link to a Web site on world-wide vulcanism which in turn led to a large number of other sites, but some of these were misleading. "Volcanic hazards", for instance, led to the National Earthquake Centre, with nothing about volcanoes, let alone hazards, while "lava hazards" led to detailed maps of lava zones in Hawaii. We were also suddenly into quite serious academic research here - a promising link to "new article" led to "Volcanic ash: transport and dispersion interactive modeling". Searching for "Volcanoes" in the library yielded 146 articles. Many were grouped under regions - Alaska, Hawaii, etc - but some of the other subject headings were, again, misleading. "Geology"" yielded a rather charming travel article on Hawaii, "appreciation of" produced an article that mentioned underwater volcanoes but had lots on jellyfish, while "causes of" led to an article on Venus. World Book CD-Rom, 7/10. A fairly competent overview - different types of lava, tectonic plates, an animation of an eruption plus voice-over, links to geysers and hot springs. But not as many pictures as Encarta, and not as slick or as easy to navigate around. World Book on-line, 6/10. A web link to the "biggest eruptions on earth" led to a good, lengthy article on Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, in particular, which also had useful stuff on volcanoes in general. Also a link to geothermal energy that I didn't follow. The library threw up 30 articles, mostly about Montserrat, from such sources as the LA Times, Reuters, USA Today and Newsday. …