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You are here: home > geotopics > volcanoes > what are lahars and pyroclastic flows?

Volcanoes menu
What is a volcano?
What are the main features of a volcano?
What are active, dormant and extinct volcanoes?
What are the different types of volcano?
What is a supervolcano?
Where are volcanoes located?
What is the Ring of Fire?
What are lahars and pyroclastic flows?
Why do people live close to volcanoes?

Case Studies
The 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens
The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo

The 2000 eruption of Popocatepetl
The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallojokull
The 2010 eruption of Mt Merapi

Related Topics
Plate tectonics
Earthquakes


Popocatepetl, Mexico (2000)
 

Why do people live close to volcanoes?

Why do people live close to volcanoes?


   

 

Why do people live close to volcanoes?
Volcanoes have a wide range of effects on humans. These can be problematic or beneficial. It is usually the destructive nature of volcanoes which is more widely documented. However, many people rely on volcanoes for their everyday survival. Today, many millions of people live close to volcanoes for this very reason.

People live close to volcanoes because Geothermal energy can be harnessed by using the steam from underground which has been heated by the Earth's magma. This steam is used to drive turbines in geothermal power stations to produce electricity for domestic and industrial use. Countries such as Iceland and New Zealand use this method of generating electricity.

Volcanoes attract millions of visitors around the world every year. Apart from the volcano itself, hot springs and geysers can also bring in the tourists. This creates many jobs for people in the tourism industry. This includes work in hotels, restaurants and gift shops. Often locals are also employed as tour guides.

[Lava] from deep within the earth contains minerals which can be mined once the lava has cooled. These include gold, silver, diamonds, copper and zinc, depending on their mineral composition. Often, mining towns develop around volcanoes.

Volcanic areas often contain some of the most mineral rich soils in the world. This is ideal for farming. [Lava] and material from [pyroclastic flows] are weathered to form nutrient rich soil which can be cultivated to produce healthy crops and rich harvests.

 

 
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