Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Composite Volcano

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_62


“Relatively large, long-lived constructional volcanic edifice, comprising lava and volcaniclastic products erupted from one or more vents…” (Davidson and de Silva 2000).


A type of  volcano.



The previous but still existent name “stratovolcano” implied alternating layers of lava and pyroclastic rocks. However, the more recent term “composite volcano” better describes the complex architecture of this volcano type, superimposed occasionally by lava domes, dotted by scoria cones, cut through by secondary vents, etc., giving a more complex structure relative to the textbook “pancake” images.


In a mature stage, composite volcanoes are prominent features, larger than scoria cones, lava domes, and other monogenetic volcanoes and steeper than shield volcanoes. Although they are all steep and high landforms, they have different shapes including the regular, symmetrical “cones” (which are not cones sensu stricto since...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical GeographyEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary