When do volcanoes happen

Volcanoes - benefits and dangers for humans

Despite the known dangers that a volcanic eruption and its consequences can have for people, many people live in the immediate vicinity of volcanoes and accept the risk of destructive eruptions.

Apart from the fact that many areas of the earth are so densely populated that people have no way of avoiding the volcanoes over a wide area, the volcanoes not only pose a threat, but also bring benefits to people.

Because of this, around 500 million people around the world live near active volcanoes.

- You practice intensive agriculture in the immediate vicinity of the volcanoes, as the volcanic ash enriches the soil with nutrients and is therefore particularly productive.

- In power plants, the seepage water heated by the magma, which partially penetrates to the surface as a geyser, is used to generate electricity and heating power.

- The sulfur produced by the gases during volcanic eruptions is used in industry (e.g. to harden tire rubber).

- Many volcanic rocks (e.g. basalt, pumice) are used by people, and the thermal springs and sulfur-containing vapors have healing properties for people with rheumatism, breathing difficulties and skin diseases.

The more active a volcano, the lower the dangers for humans.

The inhabitants who live near an active volcano know its dangers, have learned to live with it and keep a proper distance.

More dangerous are volcanoes, which are only very rarely active, because over the centuries their threat is often forgotten and people settle too close to the fertile land in its vicinity.

A sudden eruption of such volcanoes usually results in major catastrophes and claims many human lives.

As far as has been reported so far, only four cities have been completely wiped out by volcanic eruptions: Pompeii and Herculaneum during the great eruption of the Vesuvius in the year 79 AD.

In 1902 the city of St. Pierre on the island of Martinique was hit by the eruption of the Mont Pelée and in 1985 the Colombian city of Armero, which became part of the outbreak of the Nevado Del Ruiz fell victim.


People do not always react in good time to the warnings of the volcanologists who observe and monitor the volcano, e.g. to get information about the severity of an upcoming eruption from the composition of the magma-containing rock and the gas content in the chimney of a volcano.

It is also not always possible to predict a volcanic eruption in time, or communication between the volcanologists and the authorities is insufficient and people are simply not warned early enough.

The greatest danger to humans is in the vicinity of an active volcano with Plinian breakout type.

In recent times, large volcanic eruptions have also posed a serious threat to modern air traffic.

There have been near-crashes because the turbines of passenger planes sucked in ash when they passed through large eruption clouds, thereby clogging them.

The main hazards of a volcanic eruption are:


Pyroclastic flows and ash flows

Airfalls of ash

Lapilli, bombs and blocks

Lava flows

Lahars (streams of mud)

Rockslides or landslides


Tidal waves (tsunamis)


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Photos: http://www.avo.alaska.edu
Photo 1: Views of Fourpeaked volcano and area of ​​volcanic activity on the north flank.
Picture Date: September 24, 2006
Image Creator: Neal, Christina
Photo 2: Aerial view of the 1958 eruption at Cone A, Okmok Volcano, depicting eruption plume, lava flows, and fire fountaining.
Picture Date: August 15, 1958
Image Creator: Skinner, Everett
Photo 3: Steam rises from Pavlof volcano during its September 1996 eruption.
Picture Date: September 23, 1996
Image Creator: Schoolmaster, Susan
Photo 4: New, small dome on the summit of Augustine volcano. View from northeast. Yellow / orange color in steam is caused by volcanic gases.
Picture Date: January 16, 2006 14:30:00
Image Creator: McGimsey, Game