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Volcanism in the solar system

by Brigitte Mondon last modified Jul 13, 2012 01:39 PM
Volcanism is in the curriculum of science teaching in forth level in French secondary school (13-14 years old students). Volcanism is well-known on Earth, we try to see if the different kinds of terrestrial volcanism can be found on the other planets or satellites in the solar system. We are interested by the shapes and sizes of different volcanic landforms which depend on eruption, lava quality and size of planets.

An action from

Secondary school: Collège Massenet-Fourneyron 42500 Le Chambon-Feugerolles

Grade: 4°2

Teachers: Brigitte Mondon Geology, Michel Cauchois Mathematics, Christine Bavuso Laboratory of sciences, Jean-François Garcia Arts.

Scientific partners

Astronef Planetarium, St-Étienne with Laurent Asselin

Lyon Observatory with Isabelle Vauglin

Lyon ENS with Pierre Thomas


CNRS Rhône Auvergne (projet passion recherche)

Jean-François Barnier, Conseiller Général de la Loire

Cartonneries de l'Ondaine

Foyer du Collège Massenet-Fourneyron


We're going to study five volcanoes:

1- Olympus Mons on Marseruption_1

2- Patera Tvashtar on Io

3- Puy de Dôme on Earth (France)

4- Piton de la Fournaise on Earth (France, Réunion island)

5- Herðubreið on Earth (Iceland)

We're going to work on the comparison of their shapes and sizes in building reasonable scale models of the five different volcanoes. The scale of building of each model will be different but we're going to show the different volcanoes' size with a profile fresco on the same scale.


1- Astronomic observation (mainly Jupiter and its satellites and the Moon).

2- Solar system presentation by Isabelle Vauglin, astronomer from Lyon Observatory.

3- Volcanism in solar system presentation by Pierre Thomas, geologist from Lyon ENS.

P. Thomas presentationeruption_2

4- Documentary research by students who will work in five small groups on one of the five volcanoes and comparison between Earth, Mars and Io' sizes and aspects.

5- In a second part, students will choose a good scale for the model they have to do and draw a topographic profile of their volcano.eruption_3

6- Students will build models with cardboard, coating and paint.

7- Exhibition of the models.

Arts work

At the same time, in Arts, students work about the fascinating theme of eruption.

The paintings can be seen on the right side of this page.

Building volcanoes models in pictures

Students at work

The topographic map of each volcano is placed onto cardboard and then the contours are poked through the map in the cardboard.eruption_4

Students at work on topographic map




Team Piton de la Fournaise

Students at work on topographic map 2

Three teams at workeruption_6

Cutting different pieces of cardboard

Cutting different pieces of cardboard

Team Patera Tvashtar

Gluing cardboard pieces

Gluing cardboard pieces

Team Herðubreið

Mounting pieces of cardboard of Olympus Mons

For Olympus Mons, the topographical profiles were drawn and cut.


Mounting pieces of cardboard of Olympus Mons

After gluing the cardboard sheets, the relief is coated with plaster

After gluing the cardboard sheets, the relief is coated with plaster.

Team Herðubreið

Volcanoes take shape

Volcanoes take shape, Herðubreið
Volcanoes take shape, Patera Tvashtar.
Patera Tvashtar
Volcanoes take shape,Puy de Dôme.
Puy de Dôme
Volcanoes take shape, Olympus Mons.
Olympus Mons

Sanding and dusting

Sanding and dusting, Patera Tvashtar
Patera Tvashtar
Sanding and dusting, Herðubreið

Volcanoes are painted

Volcanoes are painted, Herðubreið
Volcanoes are painted, Patera Tvashtar
Patera Tvashtar
Volcanoes are painted, Olympus Mons
Olympus Mons
Volcanoes are painted, Piton de la Fournaise
Piton de la Fournaise
Volcanoes are painted, Puy de Dôme
Puy de Dôme

Laurent is looking at the students' work

Laurent is looking at the students' work

Document Actions

Arts and Stars
  • Responsable du site : Charles-Henri Eyraud
  • E-mail : charles-henri.eyraud [arobase]
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