Our lucky Year 4s had a fascinating visitor today in the form of Senior Lecturer in Geophysics and Volcanology at the University of Exeter, Dr James Hickey.
Dr Hickey enthralled the children with information about the different types of volcanoes, parts of a volcano and the different types of eruptions; effusive and explosive. He then went on to discuss how volcanoes are formed and why eruptions differ in flow, power and danger.
He explained that the key to volcanic eruption was the level of gas in the magma, replicating how crystals in magma help bubbles of gas to form (with sugar crystals poured into lemonade). The groups then went outside to put their theory into practice, with Mentos replacing the crystals in magma and cola acting as the magma.
By altering the amount of crystals (the number of Mentos) and changing the size of the vent (restricting the size of the lid), the pupils were able to see the effects of more gas and greater pressure. In real life, this would create an increasingly explosive volcanic eruption.
Dr Hickey also talked about the importance of studying volcanoes in allowing us to protect those communities around the world who live and work around volcanoes.
It was an exciting and fascinating lesson and one our pupils are unlikely to forget! We would like to thank Dr Hickey for taking the time to come into school and sharing his knowledge with our aspiring volcanologists at Truro School Prep.