Are you ready to level up your snow sculpting skills? You’ve probably made a snowman and perfected the art of a snow angel, so now challenge yourself to try a snow volcano! With a few common household ingredients mixed with a little creativity you can create an explosive outdoor activity. Watch the video below to see how.
Here are the materials you will need:
Snow – that means go outside! You can also use sand, mud, clay, etc.
A cup or bottle
A measuring cup
Liquid dish soap for more bubbles (optional)
The volcano is all about a chemistry, because it is creating an acid-base reaction. Almost all liquids are an acid or a base. If it is made up of a lot of hydrogen ions, it is an acid. If it has a lot of hydroxide ions, it is a base.
In nature we see insects and animals using acids and bases in poisons to protect themselves. Many plants use them in their leaves, fruits, seeds or sap. If you have tasted a lemon, then you have experienced the acid in its juice! That’s what makes it taste sour.
When you mix baking soda, which is a base, with vinegar, which is an acid, a chemical reaction occurs. The effect of the reaction is that carbon dioxide is released. Carbon dioxide is an invisible gas that is all around us.
You may also know about carbon dioxide if you have ever drank a fizzy pop way too fast. Those bubbles are full of carbon dioxide. They add extra gases in your stomach that want back out, and it comes out as a burp! Like our burps, the volcano has extra gas and air that it needs to release, and that is what causes the eruption.
Experiment with your set up. Change the size of your bottle. What happens with a shorter one versus a taller one? What about the bottle’s opening width? Does a larger top make a bigger eruption? See what happens if you use warm water and vinegar versus cold water and vinegar. Change one factor at a time and record your results to see what combination makes the most awesome volcano.
Want to learn more about volcanos? Here are some fun facts to get you started:
There are about 1,900 active volcanos on Earth. They are not just located on land. More than 80 have been found in the ocean.
Lava starts as magma, which is liquified rock inside the volcano. Once the magma comes above the surface, it is referred to as lava.
There are three categories of volcanos. Extinct is when a volcano is never expected to erupt again. Dormant is when it hasn’t erupted in thousands of years, but it still could. Active volcanoes are those that have to the potential to erupt at any time or have erupted recently.
The word volcano comes from the Roman god of fire, Vulcan.
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