Today we are going to learn about underwater volcanoes! Find videos that show you what an underwater volcano looks like and make your own submarine volcano with this easy science experiment for kids.
Underwater volcanoes for kids
We have been learning all things volcano in our home. My kid is fascinated with volcanoes at the moment, and it really surprised him when I told him that there are lots of volcanoes in the ocean!
I started researching underwater volcanoes -- called submarine volcanoes -- and actually learned a lot.
For example, scientists think that about 75% of the world's volcanic activity happens under the oceans' water!
Another cool thing about underground volcanoes is that scientists are able to study it more closely than land volcanoes. Why? Because the pressure from the water holds back big explosions.
If your kid is curious and wants to look at the types of underwater vehicles that can film and take samples of submarine volcanoes, here's a picture of an underwater vehicle called Jason. It's operated by a control panel on the main ship, so it goes underwater to explore on its own.
Engaging videos that show underwater volcanic activity
There are a lot of videos that show submarine volcanoes erupting. I spent a lot of time searching Youtube to find a couple of the best ones to show my kid.
These 2 videos are pretty short, and have enough interesting footage to hold his attention. They also explain what is going on in basic terms so he can follow along easily.
Fun Facts about underwater volcanoes
- Often, the type of lava formed by submarine volcanoes is called pillow lava because they look like marshmallow pillows.
- Some sharks live in underwater volcanoes - called Sharkano!
- It's estimated that there are more than 1 million underwater volcanoes
Underwater Volcano Experiment for Kids
To tie everything together and to make it hands on, I did a quick and easy underwater volcano science experiment with my kid.
For this experiment, you need the following:
- Tall clear storage container (a narrow one works best)
- A small clear bottle
- A dab of red washable paint
- A paintbrush or stick to use for stirring
- Warm water and cold water
Tip: Make sure the small clear bottle sits at least 4 inches below the top of your tall clear storage container.
Set up the experiment
To set up the underwater volcano science experiment:
First fill the tall storage container with cold water. Set it somewhere that will be okay if some water spills out.
Tip: Leave enough room on the top so the water won't overflow when you put in the small clear bottle.
Second, fill the small clear bottle with warm water.
Third, mix in a tiny bit of the washable paint into the small clear bottle. You only want just enough that the water changes color. We dabbed a bit on a paintbrush, then swirled that paintbrush around the bottle.
Now you are ready! Make sure your kid's looking eyes are ready.
Gently place the small clear bottle into the large tall storage container. The red water will start to flow upwards!
This experiment will last a few minutes. Eventually, the red water (aka the lava) becomes diluted and you can no longer see it flowing upwards.
Can I use food coloring instead of red washable paint when setting up this experiment?
Washable paint worked great for us. My kid dipped the paintbrush in himself and mixed the water so it turned red.
Personally, I always worry about using food coloring because it stains. But yes, you can use a couple drops of food coloring instead of mixing in the paint.
Why does the "lava" flow up?
It's all in the density. The "lava" flows up in this experiment because warm water is less dense than cold water.
Fun right? My kid loved it so much he ran to get his camera and started taking pictures of it. Hope you enjoy this easy experiment at home!