VOLCANOLOGY (from the words "Volcanoes" and Greek "logos", which means, the word, the teaching * EN: volcanology; DE: Vulkanologie; FR: volcanologie; ES: volcanologia; RU: вулканология) is the science, which is studying the processes and causes of the forming of the volcanoes.

The subject of volcanology is the forming of the volcanoes, their development, the structure and composition of the products of the eruptions, the regularities of the placement of the volcanoes on the Earth's surface, the changing of the character of their activity through the time. The practical goal of volcanology is the development of the methods for the prediction of the eruptions, and for the usage of the volcanic heat of the hot waters and steam for the needs of the national economy, the revealing of the regularities of the forming of the useful minerals of the volcanogenic origin. Volcanology resolves the issues about the sources of the volcanic energy, about the conditions of the evolution of the magma, about the placement of the magmatic chambers, about the role of the volcanism for the forming of the Earth's crust, and of other planets.

The origins of volcanology belong to the middle of the 1st millennium BC (Heraclitus during the 6th century, and Aristotle during the 4th century, within Greece; Strabo during the 1st century, and Pliny the Younger during the 1st century, within the Roman empire). Strabo has described the eruption of the Kameni volcano (the Santorini island), which has occurred during the 196 BC, and Pliny the Younger has described the catastrophic eruption of the Vesuvius volcano during the 79, for which he was the eyewitness. The first special scientific institution, namely, the volcanological observatory on the slope of the Vesuvius volcano, has been organized during the 1842. During the 1911, there has been created the volcanological observatory on the Kilauea volcano on the Hawaii islands; later, there have emerged the observatory within Indonesia, and the series of the volcanic observatories and stations within Japan. Within the USA, there is engaged in the study of the volcanoes the Smithsonian Institution within the Washington city. The first volcanological institutions within the USSR were the volcanological station on the Kamchatka peninsula (1935), the Laboratory of Volcanology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1945, the Moscow city), which have been tranformed during the 1963 into the Institute of Volcanology (the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city), now this Institute belongs to the structure of the Far Eastern Scientific Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Besides these organizations, the volcanological researches are conducted within the Sakhalin Comprehensive Scientific-Researching Institute, and also by the Geological Institutes of Armenia and Georgia.

Within the USSR, there have brought the great contribution to the advancement of volcanology F. Yu. Levinson-Lessing, A. N. Zavaritsky, V. I. Vlodavets, B. I. Pijp, G. S. Gorshkov, S. A. Fedotov, and others; abroad, the German scientist F. Wolf, the French scientist A. Lacroix, the Swiss scientist A. Ritman, the Austrian scientist K. Zapper, the American scientists H. Williams, R. Daily, G. MacDonald, F. Perret, F. Bullard, the New Zealand scientist C. Cotton, and others.

The results of the researches in the field of volcanology are printed within the periodic publications of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR: within the "Bulletin of the Volcanological Stations of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR" (1937-79), and within the "Volcanology and Seismology" journal (since the 1979). Of the special international publications, which are dedicated to the issues of volcanology, there may be distinguished: the "Zeitschrift für Vulkanologie" (1914-38) with the annexes, the "Bulletin Volcanologique" (since the 1924), the "Bulletin of the Volcanological Society of Japan" (since the 1932), the "Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research" (since the 1976). The co-ordination of the researches in the field of volcanology is conducted by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Bowels of the Earth (1967). Under the auspices of this organization, there has been published the map of the volcanoes of the world (1979).