What life is like living near a volcano – advantages and disadvantages

Volcanoes have a wide range of effects on humans, these can be advantages or disadvantages. It is usually the destructive nature of volcanoes which is more widely documented, however, many people rely on volcanoes for their everyday survival. Today, millions of people live close to volcanoes for many reasons.

People live close to volcanoes because of the Geothermal energy that can be created by using the steam from underground which has been heated by the Earth’s magma. This steam is used to drive turbines to produce electricity.

Volcanoes attract millions of visitors around the world every year. Apart from the volcano itself, hot springs and geysers can also bring in the tourists. This creates many jobs for people in the tourism industry. This includes work in hotels, restaurants and gift shops. Often locals are also employed as tour guides.

Locals using farmland near an active volcano

Lava from deep within the earth contains minerals which can be mined once the lava has cooled. These include gold, silver, diamonds and copper. Often, mining towns develop around volcanoes.

Volcanic areas often contain some of the most mineral rich soils in the world. This is ideal for farming. Lava and material from pyroclastic flows are weathered to form nutrient rich soil which can be used to produce healthy crops and rich harvests.

Volcanic eruptions are none the less, hazardous events. they pose a serious risk to people’s lives when they erupt. People can die due to the direct threat of lava but more so due to poisonous gases that are released by the volcano, ash and a fast flow of superheated ash and gases called a pyroclastic flow. These can also damage people’s homes and resources.

Volcanic eruptions often lead to vital roads and other access routes being blocked, cutting areas off. This can stop emergency responses from reaching people and make recovering from the volcanic disaster even harder.

Flaming Lava Flow Moving Across a Road
Flaming Lava Flow Moving Across a Road

Although volcanic eruptions have been shown to increase levels of tourism, they can also decrease the levels too. For example, a landscape can be so badly damaged that tourists will be put off from visiting, or from the fear of another eruption occurring. A drop in tourism can make it even harder for people to recover from these events, as many people living near volcanoes rely on tourism for their income, and with this being severely reduced, their income would severely decrease.