Ever wonder why some fumaroles produce large amounts of steam, while others produce very little? Try out this experiment to find out one of the reasons! This experiment requires adult help and supervision.
In this experiment, you were demonstrating how fumaroles work. A fumarole is a vent (hole) that lets out steam from within the Earth. The holes in the tin pan are simulating how steam escapes the Earth. When there is just one hole or fumarole, steam only has one exit, causing it to exit quickly and forcefully. Sometimes, the amount of steam coming out of one fumarole becomes too much for it, and the steam will follow cracks in the Earth to a new place to vent out of the surface. This formation of a new fumarole causes the pressure of the steam to ease up a bit, and the escaping steam comes out less quickly and less forcefully from both fumaroles. The more fumaroles present, the less pressure the steam is under. Later on in the life of these fumaroles, the steam escaping may decrease due to not enough water and/or a decrease in the heat from the underground magma chamber, causing smaller steaming vents.