Q:

Why should people not live near volcanoes?

A:

Quick Answer

Active volcanoes can be extremely dangerous to live near because of their tendency to eject debris, gas and harmful chemicals at irregular intervals. According to Geology.com, any kind of volcano can produce potentially lethal phenomena in unstable and hard-to-predict ways. Certain hazards, however, are relatively well understood.

Know More

Full Answer

The first hazard many people think of in relation to volcanoes is lava. Lava is molten rock; it regularly reaches temperatures between 1,800 and 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Geology.com. Lava flows can be thick and slow moving or thin and fast, and an active flow poses an immediate hazard to fixed objects such as roads and buildings.

Pyroclastic currents are another hazard of volcanoes. When molten rock interacts with water, the resulting energy release can cause a tremendous explosion that drives ash and debris downhill anywhere from short distances to hundreds of miles. The Soufrière Hills volcano in Monserrat last erupted in this way and ejected a pyroclastic flow of material heated up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit that moved at speeds up to 650 mph.

Volcanoes can also inundate their surroundings with catastrophic mudflows, known as lahars, and poisonous gasses. Geology.com reports that these gasses are typically rich in sulfur and can easily combine with water vapor to produce acid rain downwind of the areas immediately affected by the eruption.

Learn more about Volcanoes
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Are all volcanoes the same?

    A:

    No two volcanoes are exactly the same, as they all have differences in dimensions of their mountains and craters, as well as their relative frequency and type of eruption. Volcanoes come in cinder cone, shield and stratovolcano varieties.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why are there volcanoes?

    A:

    Volcanic vents allow the Earth to release built up gases from the heat and pressure emanating from its core. Magma rises towards the surface, and as the pressure builds the magma seeks outlets through which to flow. The higher the pressure build-up, the greater the volcanic explosion.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do volcanoes erupt?

    A:

    Volcanic eruptions can either be effusive or explosive. An effusive volcanic eruption occurs when the lava pours out onto the ground from the volcano's vent. When the molten rock or magma is thin and runny, gases can easily escape and the lava flows freely and travels far. An explosive volcanic eruption is caused by thick and sticky magma, which prevents gases from escaping and causes them to explode violently.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What impact do volcanoes have?

    A:

    The primary impact volcanoes have on the environment is the release of volcanic gases into the atmosphere. Volcanoes release around 130 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, as well as toxic pollutants like sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride. However, volcanoes can also have a positive impact on the environment because the lava and ash produced by an eruption contain valuable nutrients for the soil.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore