Volcanoes are indeed amazing, majestic, and impressive! These rare events may seem unbelievable at first, but they do happen for real. Apart from their beauty, volcanoes also come with their share of benefits. From upgrading the soil to creating new land masses, the phenomenon is indeed a useful and productive force.
Volcanic eruptions lead to the scattering of ash over large areas around the eruption site. This ash contains varying amounts of nutrients that enrich the surrounding soil, making them fertile. Besides dispersing ash over wide areas, volcanoes cause to push its material to the surface leading to the formation of new land masses. Take the Hawaiian chain of islands, for example. It was created by the unceasing eruptions of a single volcanic spot. These eruptions breached the surface of the ocean for many years, thereby turning into livable islands. Finally, the heat generated by volcanic eruptions provide the opportunity for the generation of geothermal energy.
On the other hand, volcanoes are also known for their destructive power. While some of them do not cause much damage, others are so massive that they could cause a world catastrophe such as earthquakes, fast floods, rock falls, and destruction of humans and animals. Volcanoes also have the power to impact the weather and can cause rain, thunder, and lightning. They can also have a prolonged effect on the global climate by making the earth cooler. This is because huge amounts of ash that get trapped in the atmosphere, thus preventing sun rays from reaching the earth.
The latest volcanic eruption is Guatemala’s The Volcan de Fuego, one of Latin America’s most active volcanoes which took place in June 2018. The eruption caused pyroclastic flows or fast-moving concoctions of very hot gas and volcanic matter which moved down the slopes, severely affecting communities such as El Rodeo and San Miguel Los Lotes. Reaching record temperatures of about 700 degrees centigrade, the molten lava stretched at least five miles long destroying bridges, roads, and buildings along its path. Over 60 people had been killed, nearly 300 are believed to have been injured, and around 3,200 people have been evacuated from nearby communities. Crops and vegetation got covered in a dense layer of grey ash from the eruption. The eruption also caused the capital’s international airport to close its only runway, as ash and smoke filled the sky and covered cars, roads, and houses.
Another recent deadly eruption is that from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, which began on May 2018. The seismic event started with small cracks appearing on the volcano on May 1, according to the US Geological Survey. Following this, a towering plume of pink smoke filled the sky and a magnitude 6.9 earthquake, the island’s largest in 42 years hit the south flank of the volcano. Besides producing a strong earthquake, the eruption also opened fissures inside Leilani Estates, spreading lava in the residential areas. The event forced thousands of island residents to evacuate their homes. Over 80 homes got destroyed by lava flows. Kilauea has been erupting since 1983, making it one of the longest erupting volcanoes in the world.