Label: Volcanoes

September 9, 2013


In today’s Science News, scientists have discovered one of the largest known volcanoes in our Solar System under the Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 miles east of Japan. That’s right, the new volcano, named Tamu Massif, is not only the largest volcano on Earth (by far), it is one of the largest in the Solar System. Quite a discovery, right here at home!

Tamu Massif covers an area of about 120,000 square miles - about the size of the state of New Mexico. That is 60 times bigger than Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, which up until now we had thought was the largest volcano on Earth.

Fortunately, the huge volcano is no longer active, but scientists are eager to study it and try to learn more about how these mega volcanoes form.

There is much that we are still learning, about Earth’s geology and about animals, under the oceans that cover 70% of the surface of our planet. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Volcanoes, Exploration   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 7, 2013

Seymour Simon is pleased and honored that two of his books, VOLCANOES and HORSES, are included in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as English Language Arts Text Exemplars, Grades 4-5 Informational Text. Now, we are providing extra resources to help you make the most of these two popular books!

   Seymour has created detailed Teacher Guides for both of these books, and they are available as free downloads to anyone who is registered as a member of this website. The reason that you must register to become a member of in order to access the free teacher guides is that children also use the website and these materials are not for them. We do not share, sell or use personal information for any other purpose other than to register parents and educators for access to this area of the website.

You can become a member by simply clicking "Sign Up" at the right hand side of the yellow bar at the top of the page. Once you have registered, be sure that you are logged in and visit the "Educators and Families" section of Seymour Simon’s website to download individual copies of the Guide. 

While you are exploring the website, you may also want to try some of the many other free resources that we offer for classroom use on The website offers extensive classroom resources designed to expand students’ understanding and exploration of his books, and also to encourage and reward their efforts as growing readers and writers. In particular, the Seymour Science blog is widely used by schools and classes who are studying his books and looking for opportunities to publish student writing. We have also had very enthusiastic participation by classes in our weekly "Writing Wednesdays," which began again at the beginning of September. 

Best wishes to all the educators who use this website for a smooth and productive start to the new school year!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Common Core, Volcanoes, Teacher Guides, Teachers and Librarians, Horses   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 28, 2012

Good morning, and welcome to Writing Wednesday.

  The Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island is once again spilling lava into the ocean. This volcano has been erupting continuously from its Pu’u O’o vent since 1983. However, it has been nearly a year since the lava flow traveled the seven-mile (11 kilometer) distance to flow into the ocean.

When hot lava meets cold ocean waves, there is a spectacular display of steam and smoke. Tourists are traveling from all over to visit the volcano to see this rare and beautiful sight.

Your Assignment: Look at this photograph and imagine that you are able to travel to Hawaii’s Big Island to see the volcano and lava flowing down to the ocean. Describe what it is like. What do you see? What do you hear? Smell? How does seeing the hot lava meet the ocean waves make you feel?

When you have finished writing, you can share it with your class, friends or family. Or you can post it here for everyone to read. Just click on the yellow "Comments" button at the bottom of this blog to post your writing.

Photo: Hugh Gentry / Reuters


Note to Educators: Today’s Writing Wednesday exercise is designed to use in support of CCSS Writing Standard #3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Common Core, science news, Writing Wednesday, Volcanoes   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 18, 2012

Today’s Cool Photo of the Week is an image that I came across of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupting. When natural events of this magnitude happen, we are reminded how little control we have of many of the forces at work on our planet. Although these events can be destructive, they are often very beautiful, as well.

The black cloud that you see against the night sky is ash being spewed into the air by the force of the eruption. Because this glacial volcano is located underneath an icecap, the hot magma cools fairly quickly, turning to ash and grit. That cooling created the giant cloud of ash that shut down air travel on six continents for over a week back in 2010.

The white smoke at the bottom left is steam from the melting ice. And isn’t the lightning magnificent? We often see low energy lightning leaping between particles of lava and ash as they are hurled from the volcanic vent at very high speeds.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(7) Comments  •   Labels: Volcanoes, Cool Photo, lightning   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 16, 2011

Today’s Cool Photo of the Week is a wonderful shot of a "volcano cake," which a parent made when I visited a school several years ago. Isn’t it wonderful?!

The photograph reminds me that I recently received a letter about volcanoes from Andrea G., a fifth grade student at Witch Hazel Elementary School in Oregon. "I love how you wrote the Volcano story.  I love how you added all those different kinds of volcanoes.  I wish you will come to my house and write a story, have an adventure, or go to a restaurant.  It’s very cool that you wrote two hundred books in thirty years.  Do you know a lot about the moon?  How do you know a lot about volcanoes? Thank you for your time."

One of the things that I love about Andrea’s letter is that she called the book my "Volcano story." 

That is exactly how I think about writing my books. Even though they are about real (nonfiction) subjects, I always try to write a story that is fun and exciting to read. It makes me very happy that Andrea sees it that way.

Over the years, both while teaching Science and writing my books, I have indeed come to know a lot about both the moon and about volcanoes. Of course, I studied science in school, both at New York’s Bronx High School of Science and continuing on into college. But it takes more than that. Being interested in science means that you are always learning. There are new discoveries being made all the time, and scientists are constantly testing theories to keep increasing our knowledge and understanding of our planet and the universe in which we live.

So, when I write a book, I have to do research and find out as much as I can, just as you would if you were writing a report for school. For VOLCANOES, I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Hawaii, where I talked to vulcanologists (scientists who specialize in volcanoes), as well as observing and photographing active volcanoes. 

In fact, the subject is so interesting to me that I’ve written TWO different books about volcanoes! I think they are one of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful sights in our natural world, don’t you?




Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Volcanoes, Becoming a writer, School Visits, Cool Photo, Kids Write, Earth Science Books, Writing   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 7, 2011

I know that many of you are fascinated by volcanoes, and you will love today’s science news story. A city on the Atlantic cost of Spain has been completely evacuated, the port is closed to all ships and airplanes are banned from flying overhead, because of an underwater volcano that is threatening to erupt.

This is a submarine volcano ("sub" means under and "marine" means water).  You might be surprised to know that 75% of the magma (the hot, liquid rock found inside a volcano) that wells up from beneath the earth’s surface each year comes from submarine volcanoes, but think about it. Volcanoes are spread all over our planet, and about 70% of Earth is covered by water. So, it makes sense that most magma flows happen underwater.

The volcano first started to emerge on October 9 off El Hierro Island, and researchers from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO, Ministry of Science and Innovation) used cutting-edge scanners to quickly map its formation. The image at the top shows the underwater valley as it appeared in 1998. The image on the bottom shows the new formation, with the volcano crater clearly visible and a "tongue" of lava flow running down into the valley. 

"It is spectacular to see how what was once an underwater valley is now a volcanic cone with its descending lava tongue," said Juan Acosta, head of the research team.


Photo: Canary Regional Goverment handout / EPA



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Volcanoes, Oceans   •  Permalink (link to this article)

June 7, 2011

Today’s Cool Photo of the Week is simply incredible. A volcano in Chile erupted this week for the first time in 50 years, and the friction caused between the rising cloud of dust and the air above the volcano created this astounding cloud-to-cloud lightning.

This is a massive eruption. Ash has been blown six miles into the sky, 3500 people have been evacuated, airports are closed, and cities in Chile and nearby Argentina are covered with so much ash that it looks as if there has been a snowstorm.

Officials say that they can’t even tell which one of four volcanoes in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic chain has erupted, because of all the ash clouding the sky. Chile’s chain of about 2,000 volcanoes is the world’s second largest after Indonesia. Like Indonesia, Chile is situated on the "Ring of Fire" - the area in the Pacific Ocean that has the strongest geological activity on Earth, including many earthquakes and volcanoes. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Volcanoes, Cool Photo, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 23, 2011

Look at this amazing photograph of the volcanic eruption in Iceland over the weekend. The plume of ash when the Grimsvotn volcano erupted on Saturday shot 12 miles into the air! (Photo: Egill Adalsteinsson / EPA).

Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions in the world, because it Is located on both the Iceland hotspot and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs right through it. This location means that the island is highly geologically active with many volcanoes, and eruptions occurring on average roughly every three years. For example, in the 1900s there were 39 volcanic eruptions on and around Iceland.

The Grimsvotn volcano lies under the uninhabited Vatnajokull glacier. It began erupting Saturday for the first time since 2004. This is a different volcano than Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull, which erupted in April 2010. When that happened last year, large parts of Europe’s air space were closed for five days, because of the danger that the volcanic ash could harm jet engines. Some 10 million travelers were stranded.

This one doesn’t seem quite as disruptive. So far, airports are closed in Iceland, and they are keeping a close watch on the ash in nearby Great Britain.

Eruptions often cause local flooding from melting glacier ice, but rarely cause deaths. Police closed a main road near the volcano Sunday as heavy ash fell.


There have been some amazing photographs taken of volcanic eruptions in Iceland over the years.

You can see photos like this one and read about some of the earlier eruptions in my book VOLCANOES.





Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Volcanoes, Photography   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 6, 2010

One of the techniques that I love seeing teachers use with their students is having them write every day in a journal, or in this case, a blog!

Teachers in the Avoca School District (serving portions of Glenview, Northfield, Wilmette, and Winnetka, Illinois) welcome readers this way when they come to the site:

Welcome to one of the student blogs at Avoca School District 37. Students will be posting in their school blog throughout the school year sharing their writing, as well other projects they create. We hope that you will visit the student blogs and make comments to the students about their work.


Payton describes himself this way in his "About Me":             

I’m ten years old going to be 11. My favorite subject is Math and Reading. My friends say that I’m cool and funny. I think I am amazing. This year I am hoping to learn everything there is to learn. 


Click here to read Payton’s review of DANGER! VOLCANOES.



As I tell both teachers and students when I visit schools, if you want to be a writer, the most important thing to do is WRITE! This program is a great way to encourage kids to express themselves, and get positive feedback on their writing skills.




Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Volcanoes, Becoming a writer, Earth Science Books   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 29, 2010

The Boston Globe continues to post a huge number of pictures of the Icelandic volcano. Click here to have a look. What gorgeous sights.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Volcanoes, Earth Science Books, Eyjafjallajokull   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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