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Make a Volcano

Making volcanoes is pretty easy and lots of fun. But,
be warned:  It will leave your kitchen (and your hands)
smelling like vinegar!  

bulletMake a simple volcano
bulletMake a more complex volcano
bulletSee real lava rocks with bubble holes

  

Simple Volcano

Here's one of the simplest ways to make a volcano.
You need:

bulletLarge plastic box
bulletPlastic funnel
bulletBaking soda
bulletWhite vinegar
  
1. Pour a pile of baking soda on the bottom of the box. 2. Put the large end of the funnel over the baking soda and push down hard.  Then pour vinegar into the small end of the funnel. 3. Watch the foam push out of the funnel!

What happened?  When baking soda and vinegar were mixed 
together, they made bubbles of a gas called carbon dioxide.  
The foamy mixture of bubbles and vinegar looked like lava as it
expanded and pushed its way out of the funnel.

   
More Complex Volcano

This volcano takes more work.  You need:

bulletLarge plastic box
bulletModeling clay, shaped to make a volcano with a cup-shaped hole at the top
bulletPlastic animals (to get buried by the lava, and maybe become fossils)
  
bulletBaking soda
bulletDish detergent
bulletRed food coloring
bulletWhite vinegar
  
bulletSmall bowl, mixing spoon, and measuring cup
   
1. Mix together the baking soda, detergent, and food coloring until it's a thick but runny goo. 2. Spoon the goo into opening at the top of the volcano. 3. Pour small amounts of vinegar into the opening and watch what happens!
  
4. Keep adding more vinegar and red goo to the volcano. 5. Maybe the foamy pink "lava" will cover everything! 6. Let the box sit in a warm place for a few weeks, and the "lava" may evaporate and make crystals!

What happened?  The detergent helped keep the foam
together longer.  The red food color made the foam look a
bit more like real lava.  We don't know what kinds of crystals 
formed when the "lava" mixture evaporated.


Real Lava with Bubble Holes

Some times real lava is full of gas bubbles.
When it cools, it makes rocks like these:

Scoria Pumice
When dark-colored basalt lava is full of bubbles, it sometimes explodes out of the volcano to make a rock called scoria. Light-colored pumice lava has so many bubble holes that it often floats in water.

   
   


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Copyright 2001-2003  Eric D. Gyllenhaal                                              Search this Site
Webmaster@SaltTheSandbox.org

Neighborhood Rocks is part of the Salt the Sandbox Web. 
For more information visit the Salt the Sandbox home page.

This page was created on March 12, 2001, and it was last updated on February 2, 2003.