Ninth Graders Study Historic Volcanoes


Ninth graders at North Shore High School in Laura DiLallo’s class recently learned that volcanoes are not always only big cone-shaped mountains that spew out lava in giant explosions. They researched that volcanoes come in all shapes and sizes with varying degrees of activity and notoriety. They also learned about volcano safety. Student Mikayla McBride stated, “It is important to research volcanoes and find out new information about them. However, the person exploring needs to have the right equipment in order to be safe. In addition, Student Mikayla Aquino said, “I think it is smart to worry [about volcano safety] because worrying can save your life.” The Earth Science class had the opportunity to choose a volcano from a list of notable events in history and conduct research, experiment, and gather facts and information including:


Tambora, Indonesia
Krakatau, Indonesia
Mount Pelee, Martinique
Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia
Unzen, Japan
Mount Kilauea, Hawaii
Mount Etna, Italy
Komagatake, Japan
Pinatubo, Philippines
Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland

Laki, Iceland
Kelut, Indonesia
Galunggung, Indonesia
Vesuvius, Italy
Papandayan, Indonesia
Yellowstone, Wyoming
Hibok-Hibok, Philippines
Taal, Philippines
Cotopaxi, Ecuador
Mayon, Philippines

Lamington, Papua New Guinea
El Chichon, Mexico
Colima, Mexico
La Soufriere, St. Vincent
Oshima, Japan
Asama, Japan
Mount Saint Helens, Washington
Mount Rainier, Washington
Agung, Indonesia
Mauna Loa, Hawaii
Calbuco, Chile


To culminate their studies, each student either alone or with a partner made a presentation to their classmates in the form of a poster, scientific letter, or model of their volcano. Ms. Napoli said each presentation had to contain, “The name and type of volcano studied, the location/country where the volcano erupted, and its map of coordinates and elevation of summit (i.e., height).” She added “My students had to summarize the frequency and intensity of the eruptions, outline the eruption dates and number of people harmed or killed, and figure out the area the eruption covered.”  Student Alex Selmani said, “If you don't have the knowledge of when the last eruption of the volcano was, how deadly its eruptions are, and how frequently it erupts, then it's a smart decision not to venture up the volcano.” On the day of the presentations, each group excitedly got up in front of their peers and expertly communicated to the facts, events, and characteristics of their historic volcanoes.

It was apparent that each of the students engaged in passionate learning and critical thinking while having fun studying notorious volcanoes in history. Student Sofia Martini concluded by saying, “The thing that I found most interesting about [Mount Fagradalsfjall] was that it was actually erupting right now. I found this very interesting because none of the other volcanoes were currently erupting, therefore making this volcano very unique. The volcano is also formed by a hot spot, which sets it apart from other volcanoes formed at subduction zones.”


Article and by Shelly Newman  

Photos by Ms. DiLallo