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The definition of a volcano is discussed, and a new encompassing version is provided. The discussion focuses on the observations that volcanism is a self-similar process that ranges many orders of magnitude in space and time scales, and that all kinds of geologic processes act on volcanoes.

Former definitions of volcano, such as that from the Glossary of Geology (1997, p. 690)—“a vent in the surface of the Earth through which magma and associated gases and ash erupt” or “the form or structure, usually conical, that is produced by the ejected material” are clearly insufficient. All definitions that we...

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