A volcano is the surface manifestation of magma, i.e. molten rock mixed with gas and vapour, at high temperatures. After its eruption on the surface, the molten material is called lava.
When lava solidifies, it usually accumulates to form a volcanic structure.
Cartina geografica Isole Eolie
The most important parts of a volcano are:

  • The crater: the open end at the surface of the volcanic vent, from which lava flows out or from which explosions occur;
  • The volcanic cone (or structure): consists of layers of lava and alternating solidified explosive products.
  • The volcanic vent: connects the external structure with the magma chamber.
  • The magma chamber: an area within the Earth where magma accumulates.

Lava differs from volcano to volcano, especially in chemical composition, gas content and temperature. These factors affect the viscosity of magma, i.e. how fast the lava can flow.
The solid fragments that are thrown out by a volcano are called pyroclastic products, and have very variable dimensions: volcanic ash; lapilli; volcanic bombs.