1714: Volcano Types

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Volcano Types
It's hard living somewhere with antlions, because every time you find one of their traps, you feel compelled to spend all day constructing a tiny model of Jabba's sail barge next to it.
Title text: It's hard living somewhere with antlions, because every time you find one of their traps, you feel compelled to spend all day constructing a tiny model of Jabba's sail barge next to it.


This comic presents a table of 12 different types of volcano. Split into 3 rows, the first 4 are authentic types of volcano; while the remaining 8 are parodies, one not even trying to represent a volcano but shows a real animal in its inverted trap cone.

Volcanoes have featured in many xkcd comics, most prominently in the left part of the world (the Lord of the Rings section) of 1608: Hoverboard. This comic's volcano looks like it could soon turn into a Somma volcano.

Real volcanoes[edit]

  • Cinder cone: small, steep-sided volcano formed of scoria and ash.
  • Shield volcano: wide, rounded volcano formed of solidified lava flow.
  • Stratovolcano: large volcano formed of layers (strata) from multiple eruptions.
  • Somma volcano: new volcanic cone in the middle of an old collapsed volcanic crater.

Joke volcanoes[edit]

The central caldera of Krakatoa is surrounded by the older remains of a larger caldera, much like the "Metasomma volcano."
  • Metasomma volcano: nested layers of somma volcanos i.e. a whole set of new volcanoes (three in this situation) formed inside of old ones. "Meta" is a prefix that often denotes recursion. (Although this is a joke volcano, metasomma volcanoes do actually exist in real life, with one example being the Krakatoa group in Indonesia.)
  • Waffle cone: type of pastry that ice cream is served in, related to volcano cones only insofar as they are the same shape, but typically the waffle cones are turned the other way up to keep the ice cream inside. If the tip of the waffle cone is not filled with solid chocolate or similar, then the contents may very well melt and run out the bottom like the smoke coming out at the very tip of the Waffle cone volcano.
  • Science fair cone: common elementary science experiment that is often used as a project for science fairs. A structure is built to resemble a model volcano and is filled with a mix of baking soda, vinegar, and sometimes food coloring. The reaction between baking soda and vinegar quickly produces a large amount of carbon dioxide, creating a foam that overflows and mimics a volcanic eruption. In this picture, there are people running away from the volcano that are much smaller than it. This is likely a reference to 1611: Baking Soda and Vinegar, either the scale-model people on the first volcano, or real people running from the baking soda supervolcano (in this case two Cueball-like guys and Megan).
  • Doot cone: This may likely be a reference to the meme of the skull-trumpet where the trumpet playing skull produces the sound Doot as a large part of the meme. Doot is also a fart sound; a doot cone could be just ejecting farts instead of lava.
    • There has been some discussion about if this is likely, with someone referencing the DOT cones, traffic cones approved by DOT or the Department of transportation in the US.
    • Also there have been mention of Dot-com coming close to Doot cone. The Dot-com bubble could be said to burst, just like this volcano bursts/erupts.
  • Antlion: An antlion is the larva of an insect known as the lacewing, and is commonly called a doodlebug. These insects dig pits in the sand to use as traps; when a bug comes along and falls in, the sand collapses and falls on the bug, making it very difficult to escape. The antlion then eats the unsuspecting prey. Maybe a reference to Formica Leo, a small volcanic crater in the Reunion island named after the antlion. Also, a recurring boss villain in the video game Final Fantasy series, as well as an enemy in the Half Life series. Also appears in the Moomin (1990) TV series as a literal black lion.
  • Inverse Volcano: as the name implies, a regular volcano but reversed. A real volcano consists of solid rock on the outside, magma on the inside and spewing lava from the top. This one is made of lava with rocks erupting out of it.
  • Ghost Vent: cone with ghosts coming out of it.
  • Pedant's Bane: the joke is that people sometimes confuse magma and lava, which are different names for the same heated liquid rock. Magma becomes lava when it emerges from a volcano. The Pedant's Bane volcano is therefore impossible by definition, but if it were possible, then a pedant would have met their bane (i.e. their downfall), because when they corrected someone's description of this volcano, the pedant would actually be wrong. Alternatively, the illustration itself could be Pedant's Bane because a pedant would be lured into pointing out how wrong it is. This is a direct reference to the pedant in 1405: Meteor.

The title text refers to a famous scene in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi where Jabba the Hutt intends to feed Luke Skywalker to the sarlacc, an underground creature that builds a huge funnel trap similar to that of an antlion. Jabba's distinctive sail barge features prominently in that scene, and when Randall comes upon an antlion he can't help himself starting to build a scale model next to the antlion's inverted cone. Given how small antlions are, this will be very difficult to do, see for instance 878: Model Rail.


[Twelve drawings in four rows of different "volcano" types, the first four real, and some not even volcanoes of any sort, real or fake. Below each panel is a caption with the name of the drawn volcano. Some of the volcanoes have labels or sound written inside the panel. Each of the volcanoes has a baseline for the ground going straight a short distance over the bottom of each panel. All 11 volcanoes lie on top of this line, but some show the inside of the volcano going further into the ground.]
[Standard cone shaped volcano, with straight sides sloping up to a triangular shape, but with the tip of the cone cut off to form the central jagged edged crater. White smoke rises straight up and then drifts to the left forming three separate clouds.]
Cinder Cone
[Flat rounded shaped volcano, as a part of a circle. There is not a real crater visible but from the center a thin plume of smoke rises up, drift drifts to the left and forms a small white cloud.]
Shield Volcano
[This is the largest volcano. The tip of this volcano is similar to the first volcano, but with more uneven slopes and a bit smaller. The tip is clearly separated from the bottom section by a thin jagged line, and below the sides of the volcano decreases their slope, so they are less steep than the tip. Black smoke rises straight up from the crater and then drifts to the left in four thin lines.]
[A wide volcano spans the entire panel, with a large central crater, with a bottom baseline far above the ground level. Just left of the middle of this crater is a standard smaller volcano cone, very similar to the shape of the tip in the previous panel. Even the smoke from this cones small crater is similar to the previous panels.]
Somma Volcano
[The central part of this volcano is the same shape as the previous panel. This could be a zoom out, revealing that the large crater, is at the center on an even larger crater, which again is at the center of a crater that spans the panel. A plume of black smoke rises from the centeral cones crater, and drifts left as five white clouds.]
Metasomma Volcano
[A perfect cone-shape, triangular and steep, with checkered ice cone waffle texture, even with a line indicating where the waffle has been a folded. It looks like a road up the volcano. Black smoke drift up from the sharp tip, no crater, and drifts left forming a small cloud separated from the rest of the smoke lines.]
Waffle Cone
[Standard cone as in the first, but zoomed in so it fills the panel from left to right. The volcano's top has been cut much further down leaving a wide crater from which lava is pouring down the sides in large rivers of different width and length. To the left one long river has almost reached the ground. Cueball is running down the left side, and Megan is running after another Cueball with his arms up on the right side. There is a label with an arrow pointing to the lava:]
Label: Baking soda and vinegar
Science Fair Cone
[Standard cone like the previous, but with more jagged sloped and crater. This volcano erupts with a large explosion with fire and smoke coming out in all directions above the crater. A large sound is written above the explosion:]
Sound. Doooooot
Doot Cone
[This is not a volcano, but the inverse, a cone down into the ground, the ground level no above the center of the panel. The slope down into this cone hole is straight, the ground above is more jagged. At the bottom of the hole sits a small animal with six legs and an open mouth piece sticking up out of the hole. Its fat body is hidden under the ground along with its legs.]
[Standard volcano cone like the previous volcano. It erupts and the central part shows how the erupting material comes up from below ground level (below the line at the bottom in which the cone it self stands). The erupting material is white rocks on black background. At the top several rocks is blown out of the crater top. The sides of the volcano is filled with blobs small and large, and stones rolling down the sides. There are two labels, each with two arrows. The first labels arrows points to the side of the volcano, the second labels arrows points to the erupting material inside and outside the volcano:]
First label: Lava
Second label: Solid rocks
Inverse Volcano
[Standard cone like the doot cone, with a crater that bends down in the middle. From this crater eight white ghosts with two black eyes are rising, like the smoke, drifting left. The highest ghost is just reaching the edge at the top left of the panel. The lowest ghost is still inside the crater with its wavy lower parts.]
Ghost Vent
[A standard cone like the doot cone. At the top there is lave over the outer edges, some of it running down the side. The inside of the volcano has been drawn like in the inverse volcano, so it is clear that the magma inside the volcano comes up from below ground level (below the line at the bottom in which the cone it self stands). There are two labels that contradicts the description above. The top label outside the volcano points to the lava with an arrow, and the bottom label inside the volcano points to the magma:]
Top label: Magma
Bottom label: Lava
Pedant's Bane

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Actual antlions, not to be confused with the antlions from Half-Life 2. 15:08, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

I think pedant's bane actually has them labelled correctly. It's just that the picture is upside down and you've reversed the figure and the ground in your mind. Were it right-side-up, you'd see It's actually a drawing of a teeny pool of underground magma at the bottom of an antlion's trap, spouting up a fountain of lava. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I can't tell if you're joking or not. A pedant is someone who cares (maybe too much) about being technically correct. The bane of a volcano pedant would be people who mix up lava and magma. This is why the labels are reversed in the figure. 16:27, 1 August 2016 (UTC)
Exactly. But what's the description going on about? "Pedant's Bane is therefore impossible by definition but if it were possible, then a pedant correcting someone's description of it would be wrong." What is all that rubbish supposed to mean? The explanation is not supposed to require explaining! If the terms refer to the same material but in different situations then they're wrong in the two situations illustrated, and thus should be corrected, especially by a pedant. Where does "impossible by definition" come into it? 22:57, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

Who here was hoping for Harry Potter???? [RedstoneIngot] 20:07, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

Made a very small change, but sarlacc is not supposed to be capitalized (checked both Wikipedia and Wookieepedia). Spaceside (talk) 23:02, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

The explanation of "Doot Cone" makes no sense. The "Skull trumpet" Know Your Meme page does not discuss the word "doot" at all, only shows it in some pictures. It doesn't seem to be a significant part of the meme, as it doesn't feature in the animation or its early variants. It just happens to be the first hit when you Google "doot." It makes just as much sense to assume that it's a play on "DOT cone," as in the orange cones used by the Department of Transportation (which are sometimes stenciled with "DOT.") 01:11, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

Re: Doot Cone

"Doot" is actually a significant part of the skull trumpet meme -- meant to represent the sound in the original skull trumpet video. It's strange the KYM page doesn't refer to "doot" specifically. See a relevant reddit thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/OutOfTheLoop/comments/39xnk2/what_is_this_doot_thing_with_the_skeletons/cs7jdsa

However, I'd agree that the evidence is not strong for the doot cone being a reference to this. 01:36, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

Before I read the explanation (and the KYM entry) in my imagination the sound was more like that of a foghorn or a ship's horn. I've never heard of that meme before. And even now I feel it hard to imagine a BIG volcano making the comparatively high pitched sound of a trumpet. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:18, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
Whereas it's perfectly easy to imagine a waffle cone or an inverted volcano :-) 10:12, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
Exactly ;) Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 13:04, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

It would look out of place next to the profile drawings, but is Kilauea's Watchmen crater. .42 (talk) 12:14, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

For the ghost vent - is this actually a reference to the ghost generators in Gauntlet? Andrew Williams (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

My first thought for the ghost vent was in Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials, ghosts (souls?) in the underworld are let out of a vent to rejoin the universe as had originally been intended -- FantasiaWHT (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Does the metasomma volcano remind anyone else of an HNMR spec?Killerbeez (talk) 21:39, 9 August 2016 (UTC)

       Yep.  Probably six hydrogens SOMEWHERE near that volcano.  Calculus (User talk: Calculus)  12 December 2016

Honestly, I just thought that the "Doot Cone" was just supposed to be a stupid sound. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

It's common, at least in my area, for ice cream cones to be served upside down in cups. Randall lives in New England like me, so he'd have encountered this even if it's just local. Gmcgath (talk) 13:20, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

The Reddit post linked for the doot skeleton meme has been deleted. I don’t know what the contents were so I can’t find a replacement. tsuchinoko real (talk) 23:11, 23 January 2024 (UTC)