Q:

What are the bad things about living near a volcano?

A:

Quick Answer

The worst thing about living near a volcano is the possibility of it erupting, bringing about many negative consequences, such as earthquakes, lava flows, mud flows, flooding, pyroclastic flows, falling ash, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and other toxic gases. In the past, volcanic eruptions have obliterated entire towns and villages and caused great loss of life.

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Full Answer

The effect of a volcano's eruption depends on what type it is. Shield volcanoes, such as those in the Hawaiian island chain, cause flows of slow moving lava. These are usually not dangerous to human lives, but damage infrastructure and agriculture. Stratovolcanoes, which are built up from multiple layers of lava, are volatile, highly dangerous and have caused the greatest loss of human life. Subglacial volcanoes cause eruptions beneath glaciers or sheets of ice, and the meltwater can cause catastrophic flooding.

The U.S. Geological Survey has a color-coded system to warn those living close to volcanoes. Green means that the volcano is in its normal, or non-eruptive stage. Yellow warns of signs of background unrest. Orange means that there is significant unrest with likelihood of eruption, or minor eruption activity has begun. Red signals that a major eruption has already commenced or is about to commence. The USGS also has a Volcano Hazards Program to educate people on the dangers of volcanoes and avoid catastrophic consequences in the future.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do volcanoes affect people?

    A:

    When a volcano erupts, it typically affects the humans in the vicinity by covering their environment with ash and sometimes with lava, according to Oregon State University. In addition, some volcanoes produce pyroclastic flows that are deadly to anyone in their path.

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  • Q:

    What type of volcano is Mount Pinatubo?

    A:

    Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano, or a cone-shaped volcano, that is made from many layers of hardened ash, lava and other volcanic rock. Stratovolcanoes are also called composite volcanoes.

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  • Q:

    How does a volcanic neck form?

    A:

    A volcanic neck forms when lava inside a caldera cools after magma stops feeding the mountain, and then the outside of the extinct volcano erodes after millions of years. The cooled lava remains intact because it is harder than the surrounding rock that eroded. Perhaps the most famous volcanic neck in the United States is Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

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  • Q:

    What is the opening at the top of a volcano called?

    A:

    The opening at the top of a volcano is called a vent and is where lava flows from erupting volcanoes. Volcanic vents usually sit inside craters, which are circular depressions in the ground.

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