Hazards and Benefits of Living near an Active Volcano

Volcanoes have been around for millions of years. They are both incredibly destructive and beautifully life-forming. Volcanoes are openings on the surface of the Earth that allow hot liquids and gases to come forth from below. When the volcano erupts, it releases these liquids and gases, along with ash and very small to very large debris. The chemical composition of everything consisting from the explosion greatly determines how it will affect the surrounding area.

In very many ways, volcanoes are quite hazardous. The liquids released from below the surface are incredibly hot and, depending on viscosity (how thick or fluid-like), will reach various distances. Everything along the path of this lava is destroyed. Lahars (flows of volcanic material) can easily be the most dangerous. Some of the gases released into the air from the volcanic explosion are quite toxic. If any of these gases reach the stratosphere, chemical reactions will take place, resulting in a detrimental affect to our ozone. Some of these gases settle in the clouds and enter the water cycle as acid rain. In addition, the hot gases and liquids from the eruption also affect the overall temperature of the Earth, which, in turn, affects the habitats of many living creatures worldwide. Rock fragments that explode from the volcano may land on vegetation, homes, or other infrastructure.

Still, there are certainly many benefits of a volcano. Carbon Dioxide and Hydrogen are two main gases that release into the air during the eruption. This provides food for plants and also bonds with Oxygen to create more water. The breakdown of volcanic rocks and ash provide a great deal of nutrition in the creation of soil. This newly fertile soil is great for the growth of new seedlings, and the combination of carbon dioxide and water make for a wonderful growth environment.

When the lava cools, the chemical composition changes. Volcanoes are well-known sites for a wide variety of gemstones and minerals, such as diamonds, pumice, copper, and gold. The immense number of deposits that form due to the eruption of a volcano provides mining jobs for many people, as well as expensive goods for interested buyers. In addition, companies that focus on the use of geothermal energy for electric power can utilize the powerful and renewable energy that results from a volcanic eruption.

Even the sheer size and grandeur of the volcano are enough to attract tourists worldwide; not to mention the geysers and hot-springs. This is good for local economy, family bonding, education, even creativity in writing and the arts. Tourism itself provides a wide variety of jobs in various industries.

Some may say that living near an active volcano is too dangerous. In current times, we have technology that is highly sophisticated and very accurate – this can provide us with adequate warnings in the event of a potential catastrophe. For those individuals who are willing to let go of the material world and just live life in the hands of nature, living near a volcano can prove to be very fulfilling in very many ways.