Volcanoes in Action

Ref: C3125887

Major volcanic eruptions punctuate our history from AD 79 and the destruction of Pompeii through to Mount St. Helens in 1980. During the day, we will explore the origins of such catastrophic eruptions, their products, the people involved and the steps now being taken to monitor these dangerous yet spectacular features of our natural world. Practical identification of volcanic rocks, using hand specimens, will be supported by the use of illustrations and handouts.

Course aim

To place volcanoes in their global setting using plate tectonic concepts and to introduce the fundamental processes that underlie their varying eruption styles.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand the key processes that underlie volcanic activity and its varied products;
  • Understand that a knowledge of volcanic activity underpins any past reconstructions or present interpretations based on plate tectonics;
  • Identify the major types of lavas and their pyroclastic equivalents.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • The tutor will include practical work during the day course involving hand specimens of lavas and pyroclastics from around the world.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • Tutor will provide a selection of hand specimens and handouts during the day. Class members would find a pencil/biro and a notepad useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • Tutor will bring various recommended books on volcanism and on practical identification of volcanic rocks.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Tutor will also suggest local geological societies who organise field trips and lectures.

Download full Course information sheet

Volcanoes in Action

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This course has been cancelled.


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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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