Extinct Volcanoes are a Thing
Volcanoes can go extinct through a process of geological evolution and cooling of the Earth's mantle beneath them. But how does it happen? Let's go over it.
Tectonic Plate Movement
As tectonic plates shift and move, volcanoes can be carried away from their heat source or mantle plume. When a volcano is no longer sourced by molten rock from the mantle, it becomes extinct.
Lack of Magma Supply
Over time, the supply of magma from the Earth's mantle can decrease. As a volcano's magma chamber becomes empty, it can become dormant and eventually extinct.
Solidification of Magma
If the magma within a volcano's chamber cools and solidifies, it can no longer erupt. This process may take a very long time and results in a completely extinct volcano.
Erosion and Weathering
The physical and chemical processes of erosion and weathering can wear down a volcano over time. This can lead to the removal of the volcanic cone, exposing the underlying rocks and effectively making the volcano extinct.
Changes in Regional Tectonics
Changes in the tectonic activity of a region can affect the state of volcanoes. For example, a region may transition from being tectonically active to tectonically stable, leading to the extinction of volcanoes in the area.
It's important to note that the term "extinct" when referring to volcanoes doesn't necessarily mean the volcano can never erupt again. It often means that the volcano has not erupted in recorded history and is not expected to erupt in the future due to the reasons mentioned above. However, some "extinct" volcanoes have erupted after long periods of dormancy, so geologists continuously monitor them for potential signs of reawakening.