What are the effects of a volcanic eruption?
Volcanic eruptions can cause earthquakes, fast floods, mud slides, and rock falls. Lava can travel very far and burn, bury, or damage anything in its path, including people, houses, and trees. The large amount of dust and ash can cause roofs to fall, makes it hard to breathe, and is normally very smelly.
After an eruption, roofs on buildings may collapse and kill people if enough volcanic ash particles land on them. People can develop breathing problems, throat irritation and other respiratory issues when ash falls after a volcanic eruption.
- Historic eruptions have lasted less than a day to thousands of years. In 1977, the lava lake at Nyiragongo drained in less than one hour. In contrast, Stromboli has had a low-level of activity since 450 BC (about 2,400 years). The median duration of historic eruptions is 7 weeks.
- Part 3 Protecting Yourself After the Eruption
- Remain indoors until you're told it's safe to come out. Keep the radio on and stay inside until you learn the danger has passed and you're free to go outside.
- Stay away from areas with heavy ash fall.
- Clear ash from your home and property.
- Get medical care if necessary.
- The most common type of volcanic eruption occurs when magma (the term for lava when it is below the Earth's surface) is released from a volcanic vent. Eruptions can be effusive, where lava flows like a thick, sticky liquid, or explosive, where fragmented lava explodes out of a vent.
When volcanoes erupt, they emit a mixture of gases and particles into the air. Some of them, such as ash and sulphur dioxide, have a cooling effect, because they (or the substances they cause) reflect sunlight away from the earth. Others, such as CO2, cause warming by adding to the the greenhouse effect.
- Volcanologists can predict eruptions—if they have a thorough understanding of a volcano's eruptive history, if they can install the proper instrumentation on a volcano well in advance of an eruption, and if they can continuously monitor and adequately interpret data coming from that equipment.
- The Ring of Fire is a ring of volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean that result from subduction of oceanic plates beneath lighter continental plates. Most of the Earth's volcanoes are located around the Pacific Ring of Fire because that the location of most of the Earth's subduction zones.
- Magma rises through cracks or weaknesses in the Earth's crust. When this pressure is released, eg as a result of plate movement, magma explodes to the surface causing a volcanic eruption. The lava from the eruption cools to form new crust. Over time, after several eruptions, the rock builds up and a volcano forms.
Updated: 19th October 2018