What Are the Benefits of Living Near a Volcano?

The benefits of living near a volcano are enriched soil, opportunities to efficiently harness geothermal energy and potential tourist income. Metals and precious stones are also common in volcanic soil, and rivers flowing on volcanoes can be used to generate hydroelectricity.

Volcanoes often create favorable weather conditions in the surrounding area, particularly in tropical locations. The higher elevation of the volcano gives it cooler temperatures than low-lying tropical areas. This added elevation also affects precipitation: the area surrounding a volcano receives more frequent rainfall.

Richer soil and more frequent rainfall make the areas near volcanoes ideal farmland. In areas with periodic volcanic eruptions and lava flows, the soil is refreshed with each new deposit of volcanic material. This benefit can persist for centuries; the area around Mount Vesuvius in Italy has been fertile farmland since before the beginning of recorded history due to volcanic activity.

Many densely populated areas coexist with active volcanoes. This is particularly true in tropical areas, where the cooler temperatures and superior farmland do not exist elsewhere. Indonesia, the Philippines and developing countries in South America are cited as regions of particular concern by NASA’s Earth Observatory; population growth around potentially dangerous volcanoes is highest in these regions.