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Volcanoes and Their Effect on Climate and just about Everything! by City Tech Blogger Carolina Moreno  

How cute! One lonely volcano looking for love, another one listening, but not seen, until finally they erupt, and they are together, and in love, so cute! That’s the beautiful picture Disney paints, but let’s be serious –  the type of eruption it would take to raise a volcano from the ocean would cause some serious issues for the rest of us. A volcano is caused by a rupture in the earth’s crust that allows magma, ash, rocks and hot gasses out from the pockets beneath the surface. The big mountains you see are accumulations formed by the products that have erupted out of the volcano. There are many volcanos spread all around the world, and not all of them are the same. A cinder cone volcano also known as a scovia is the most common type of volcano. It only has one vent and is generally about 300ft. Stratovolcanos are also known as composite volcanoes.  There are layers of altering lava flow, ash, and blocks of unmelted stone. These volcanoes are larger than cinder cones and are considered the most violent. Pressure builds in the magma chamber, as gases are heated under immense pressure, until it erupts. The best way to describe this would be when you shake a soda bottle vigorously, and it explodes when you try and open it. Soda goes everywhere and the liquid pops off from the pressure. One of the most famous volcanoes of this type is Mt. St. Helen in Washington state.  One of the more devastating volcanoes is  Mt Vesuvius which is most famous for the complete destruction of Pompeii.

Even though volcanoes are beneficial to the earth, since they do create more land, for example Kilauea in Hawaii has formed a new tiny island. There are many effects that an eruption of a large scale could cause on the earth’s climate.  The greatest issue with volcanoes is the atmospheric haze. Ash particles and sulfur-rich gases are sent into the troposphere and stratosphere. The small ash particles decrease the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the earth and lowers the average global temperatures. This would cause the temperatures to drop, since there wouldn’t be any heat coming in from the sun.  Winter would come sooner, and snow would take a lot longer to melt. This may not sound like it is a big deal, some of you like colder weather, it beats global warming, but you must realize the effects it has, even a small drop in temperature can effect certain areas. Ash can make grasses toxic for animals; it can also kill plants and crops. Volcanoes can also have an effect in water not only land. An eruption of a volcano can cause a large displacement of water. A collapse of a magmatic chamber can cause a  tsunami. In August 26, 1883 after the explosion and collapse of the volcano of Krakatoa (Krakatau), in Indonesia, waves that reached 135 feet were created. It destroyed coastal towns and villages along the Sunda Strait in both the islands of Java and Sumatra, killing 36, 417 people.

Many people travel to different parts of the world to witness lava shows. People travel to places like Ethiopia, and Hawaii to watch small amounts of lava erupting from volcanoes. There are several volcanoes around the world that are currently active. These giants have the ability to change the course of our lives drastically. Unlike other natural disasters where there can be some kind of plan made for prevention or a way to survive it, when it comes to volcanoes erupting we pretty much are out of options. What can you do against hot lava and magma coming at you melting and destroying everything in its path, or ash and rock falling fast from the sky. Even if you’re not near the area of the eruption, the haze can still find its way to where you are and damage your food, and way of life. A large enough eruption from one of the bigger volcanoes like the one in Yellowstone can bury the northern Rockies in about 3 feet of ash. That much ash would kill many crops, wipe out power plants, completely halt air travel, and cause a lot of respiratory issues for many people. That’s not even mentioning the amount of CO2 that would be released into the atmosphere that would get trapped inside due to the greenhouse effect caused by the ash which now would be blocking the sun’s rays from getting in and the CO2 from getting out.  Mother nature can be a thing of beauty and also a force of great destruction. We can’t control these events, just learn about them and hopefully have enough knowledge to survive them. Disney made a beautiful song  for those two volcanoes in love, I don’t think we will be hearing singing as lava is being expelled from the earth, or our lungs burn from the ash we have to breathe in.

 

 

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