The worst thing about living near a volcano is the possibility of it erupting, bringing about many negative consequences, such as earthquakes, lava flows, mud flows, flooding, pyroclastic flows, falling ash, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and other toxic gases. In the past, volcanic eruptions have obliterated entire towns and villages and caused great loss of life.
The effect of a volcano's eruption depends on what type it is. Shield volcanoes, such as those in the Hawaiian island chain, cause flows of slow moving lava. These are usually not dangerous to human lives, but damage infrastructure and agriculture. Stratovolcanoes, which are built up from multiple layers of lava, are volatile, highly dangerous and have caused the greatest loss of human life. Subglacial volcanoes cause eruptions beneath glaciers or sheets of ice, and the meltwater can cause catastrophic flooding.
The U.S. Geological Survey has a color-coded system to warn those living close to volcanoes. Green means that the volcano is in its normal, or non-eruptive stage. Yellow warns of signs of background unrest. Orange means that there is significant unrest with likelihood of eruption, or minor eruption activity has begun. Red signals that a major eruption has already commenced or is about to commence. The USGS also has a Volcano Hazards Program to educate people on the dangers of volcanoes and avoid catastrophic consequences in the future.Learn More
There are three places a volcano can occur: at mid-ocean ridges, at subduction zones where a continental and ocean plate collide, and at a hot spot located in the middle of a plate. Mid-ocean ridges are caused by divergent tectonic plates and are the most volcanically active feature on earth.Full Answer >
The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 was the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. The eruption released a huge volume of volcanic ash and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. This caused the planet to experience a global cooling in the following year and temperatures to decrease significantly.Full Answer >
Mt. Vesuvius has the same kind of magma any volcano has. The magma chamber is a 400-square-kilometer layer of molten mantle that becomes lava when it exits the top. The mount has erupted multiple times throughout history and remains dangerous today.Full Answer >
Volcanology is the study of volcanoes, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Volcanology deals with the classification, formation and the distribution of volcanoes in various parts of the world.Full Answer >