A volcanic ‘ring of fire’ lines the Pacific Ocean and has been responsible for the deaths and injuries of many hundreds of thousands since the beginning of human settlement in these regions. My work focuses on the composition of the emitted lavas, their subterranean origin, and their environmental impact following eruptions. A volcano’s shape is a reflection of the processes that form it, much like a sculpture or painting, and is constantly modified by local tectonics (earthquakes, for example) and eruptions. Some volcanoes are lumpy, and might be considered ugly to the untrained eye. Others are tall and proud. In the end, a volcano goes dormant and this edifice stands as a testament to the magma that fed it and the acidic vapor that destroys it. The creation of rock from pressure and water is magnificent and deadly – this is why I love volcanology.