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Stratovolcanoes are high and conical and are like the classic image of a volcano. Stratovolcanoes can occur in places where explosive eruptions take place. Because of the composition of the magma, the lava is quite viscous and gases may accumulate. Lava flows will flow not very far and explosive eruptions by the sustained high gas pressure in the volcano ensure ashfall and pyroclastic flows. This creates a cone-shaped volcano which is made up of tephra and lava.

Stratovolcanoes typically occur in subduction zones. Usually in volcanic island arcs or strings of volcanoes on land. The best example is the "ring of fire" around the Pacific Ocean.

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