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Volcanic plug facts for kids

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Rocher St Michel à Aiguilhe
Saint Michel d'Aiguilhe chapel, on top of a volcanic plug in Le Puy-en-Velay, France.
Sigiriya AS1
Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Sri Lanka

A volcanic plug is a landform created when volcanic magma hardens inside a vent on an active volcano. They are sometimes called volcanic necks or puys. The plug is revealed when surrounding land is eroded.

As it forms, a plug may cause an extreme build-up of pressure if gas-charged magma is trapped beneath it. This sometimes leads to an explosive eruption. But if the explosion does not occur, then the volcano becomes a solid block made of hard material.

The plug is usually harder than the surrounding rock. Glacial erosion can lead to exposure of the plug on one side, while a long slope of material remains on the lee side. Such landforms are called crag and tail. If a plug is preserved, erosion may remove the surrounding rock while the erosion-resistant plug remains. This is what produces the distinctive upstanding landform.

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Edinburgh Castle From Princes Street Garden 001
Edinburgh Castle in Scotland is built on an ancient volcanic plug.

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