Volcanic pipe
Volcanic pipes are subterranean geological
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 structures formed by the violent, supersonic
Supersonic speed is a rate of travel of an object that exceeds the speed of sound . For objects traveling in dry air of a temperature of 20 °C this speed is approximately 343 m/s, 1,125 ft/s, 768 mph or 1,235 km/h. Speeds greater than five times the speed of sound are often...

 eruption of deep-origin volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

es. They are considered to be a type of diatreme
A diatreme is a breccia-filled volcanic pipe that was formed by a gaseous explosion. Diatremes often breach the surface and produce a tuff cone, a filled relatively shallow crater known as a maar, or other volcanic pipes.- Word origin :...

. Volcanic pipes are composed of a deep, narrow cone of solidified magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

 (described as "carrot-shaped"), and are usually largely composed of one of two characteristic rock types — kimberlite
Kimberlite is a type of potassic volcanic rock best known for sometimes containing diamonds. It is named after the town of Kimberley in South Africa, where the discovery of an diamond in 1871 spawned a diamond rush, eventually creating the Big Hole....

 or lamproite
Lamproites are ultrapotassic mantle-derived volcanic and subvolcanic rocks. They have low CaO, Al2O3, Na2O, high K2O/Al2O3, a relatively high MgO content and extreme enrichment in incompatible elements....

. These rocks reflect the composition of the volcanoes' deep magma sources, where the Earth is rich in magnesium
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...

. Volcanic pipes are relatively rare. They are well known as the primary source of diamond
In mineralogy, diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions...

s, and are mined for this purpose.


Volcanic pipes form as the result of violent eruptions of deep-origin volcanoes. These volcanoes originate at least three times as deep as most other volcanoes, and the resulting magma that is pushed toward the surface is high in magnesium and volatile compounds
In planetary science, volatiles are that group of chemical elements and chemical compounds with low boiling points that are associated with a planet's or moon's crust and/or atmosphere. Examples include nitrogen, water, carbon dioxide, ammonia, hydrogen, and methane, all compounds of C, H, O...

 such as water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 and carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

. As the body of magma rises toward the surface, the volatile compounds transform to gaseous phase
Gas is one of the three classical states of matter . Near absolute zero, a substance exists as a solid. As heat is added to this substance it melts into a liquid at its melting point , boils into a gas at its boiling point, and if heated high enough would enter a plasma state in which the electrons...

 as pressure
Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure.- Definition :...

 is reduced with decreasing depth. This sudden expansion propels the magma upward at rapid speeds, resulting in a shallow supersonic eruption. A useful analogy to this process is the uncorking of a shaken bottle of champagne.

Kimberlite pipes

In kimberlite
Kimberlite is a type of potassic volcanic rock best known for sometimes containing diamonds. It is named after the town of Kimberley in South Africa, where the discovery of an diamond in 1871 spawned a diamond rush, eventually creating the Big Hole....

 pipes, the eruption ejects a column of overlying material directly over the magma column, and does not form a large above-ground elevation as typical volcanoes do; instead, a low ring of ejecta
Ejecta can mean:*In volcanology, particles that came out of a volcanic vent, traveled through the air or under water, and fell back on the ground surface or on the ocean floor...

 known as a tuff ring forms around a bowl-shaped depression over the subterranean column of magma. Over time, the tuff ring may erode back into the bowl, leveling out the depression by filling it with washed-back ejecta. Kimberlite pipes are the source of most of the world's commercial diamond production, and also contain other precious gemstone
A gemstone or gem is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments...

s and semi-precious stones, such as garnets
Garnets may have the following meanings:*Plural for "Garnet".*Garnets, an obsolete unit of dry volume in Imperial Russia.*Haddon Heights High School Garnets...

, spinel
Spinel is the magnesium aluminium member of the larger spinel group of minerals. It has the formula MgAl2O4. Balas ruby is an old name for a rose-tinted variety.-Spinel group:...

s, and peridot
-Chemistry:The chemical composition of peridot is 2SiO4, with Mg in greater quantities than Fe.-Etymology:The origin of the name "peridot" is uncertain...


Lamproite pipes

Lamproite pipes operate similarly to kimberlite pipes, except that the boiling water and volatile compounds contained in the magma act corrosively
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

on the overlying rock, resulting in a broader cone of eviscerated rock (the ejection of this rock also forms a tuff ring, like kimberlite eruptions). This broad cone is then filled with volcanic ash and materials. Finally, the degassed magma is pushed upward, filling the cone. The result is a martini-glass shaped deposit of volcanic material (both solidified magma, and ejecta) which appears mostly flat from the surface.
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