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The Causes And Effects Of Volcanic Eruptions

849 words - 4 pages

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Causes and Effects of volcanic eruptions

Introduction

Volcanic eruptions are historic geographical events with a wide scope of study. A volcano is created when magma, rock fragments, gases and ashes erupts from the earth’s interior onto the surface. There are different forms of volcanoes depending on the chemical composition and condition of magma erupted. Magma is referred to as lava once it is erupted onto the earth surface. A volcano is termed as “active” when it is in the process of eruption and “dormant” when there are no signs of eruption (MacCracken and Perry). Volcanoes are basically caused by chemical activities taking place in the ...view middle of the document...

Magmas of rhyolitic and andesitic compositions contain dissolved components such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and water. According to research, the solubility of dissolved water and gases in magma is zero at atmospheric pressure, but increases with increasing pressure. For instance, magma contains five percent saturate water when it is about six kilometers below the earth surface. As the magma moves up, water solubility decreases causing excessive water to separate from the magma in form of bubbles. Increasing volume of bubbles causes the magma to erupt and disintegrate to pyroclasts (Taylor).

The third process causing volcanic eruptions is increased volume of the magma chamber. Rocks are continually melting and new batches of magma are injected into the chamber containing similar or different composition of magma. A chamber that is completely filled up will force some of the magma to move up and erupt at the earth surface.

Effects of volcanic eruptions

There are several poisonous gases emitted during volcanic eruptions including carbon dioxide, fluorine and sulfur dioxide. Inhalation of these gases can cause discomfort and damage of the respiratory systems and even subsequent death of people and livestock. The gases are also harmful to vegetation.

Andesitic volcanoes are characterized by extremely thick lava that is highly charged with gases which makes it to explode into ash rather than flow (Taylor). This ash is acidic, smelly, gritty and harsh and can cause respiratory problems to the point of death. Sulfur dioxide contained in the ash when combined with rain water forms sulfuric acid that may cause burns to the skin. Acidic rain also causes extensive damage on water supplies,...

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