Volcanoes form along the edges of tectonic plates. Although it is true that volcanic eruptions are destructive, these eruptions also have benefits. Volcanic eruptions provide minerals to the surrounding soil, and these minerals are beneficial to agriculture and can be used as building materials. Exposure to volcanic emissions can threaten the health of inhabitants in many ways; dermal and ocular irritation, cardiopulmonary exacerbations in people who suffer from chronic diseases, and even cancer have been linked with exposure to volcanic emissions. When rainwater passes through volcanic ashes deposited on land surfaces, the leaching of metals leads to significant changes in the chemistry of the surface water, increasing the risk of drinking water and land contamination. In addition to the health effects, volcanic eruptions are known to lead to surface cooling at the regional and global scales because of the emission of fine ash particles; however, these emissions, being a source of sulfates, contribute to acid rain formation. Because volcanic ash is highly abrasive, this ash can lower visibility and cause considerable damage to the engines of transportation systems. To avoid fatalities, it is important to closely monitor volcanic activity and promote a culture of prevention at all levels of society.
Part of the book: Volcanoes