Lava Layering: Making and Mapping a Volcano

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Kilauea Volcano lava flow

ERN Item Type: 

  • Classroom Activities


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)


The focus of this activity is on interpreting geologic history through volcano formation and excavation. Baking soda, vinegar and play dough are used to model fluid lava flows. Various colors of play dough identify different eruption events. Students will: construct a model of a volcano; produce lava flows; observe, draw, record, and interpret the history and stratigraphy of a volcano produced by other students; and make the connection between the life cycle of a volcano and why they see these features on Earth and Mars.

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