Plate Tectonic - Volcanoes (6)

  • Plotting 3 different types of volcanoes on a globe.
  • Determining if composite, shield, or cinder cone volcanoes have a world wide pattern.
  • cinder cone
  • composite
  • shield

Students plot data to distinguish a pattern in the locations of volcanoes.



Mt. Fuji, Japan


In the Pre Lab, students learned that there are 3 basic types of volcanoes. Cinder cones make a structure from cinders; shield volcanoes are generally made from lava; and composite volcanoes are composed of layers of cooled lava and ash.

Ring of Fire

In this lab, students plot the locations of examples of all three types of volcanoes on a world map to see if there is a global pattern. The students should be somewhat familiar with terms like,"the Ring of Fire," the circum-Pacific area where volcanoes are more prevalent than in other areas. They should also have a feeling for where the volcanoes occur within this area. In North, Central, and South America the volcanoes occur on the west coast of each country. In Alaska and the Asian mainland, the volcanoes are located more along the southern edges of the land. In Japan, Indonesia, and other parts of the South Pacific the volcanoes are on the eastern side of the countries. In the lab, the students will not be able to see the exact location of the volcano, so they must put a dot in its general location.

  1. Review the three types of volcanoes, and any other terminology that you feel is necessary.
  2. Tell the students that they will be using a globe or map to plot the different types of volcanoes on the map. Have them blow up the globes if they are using them.
  3. Instruct them to put the number of the volcano on a stick-on dot, and to plot the location of the volcano on the globe or placemat.
  4. Ask the students if there is a visible pattern in the locations of the three types of volcanoes, or if they are randomly dispersed. The answer is no, the 3 different types of volcanoes have no pattern. The only pattern is that many volcanoes occur along the "Ring of Fire" in the Pacific Ocean.
  5. A map which shows the locations of the volcanoes in the lab is on the next page. Use this to guide the studentsí answers.

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