of our planet that have the ability to build but also to destroy things. But, what are the benefits of volcanic activity for the Earth?
- Volcanoes Create Fertile Soil
Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, and Italy are examples of places where people have lived in close proximity to volcanoes to take advantage of the rich soil that exists near them. Coffee and grapes are examples of two crops that grow very well in volcanic soil[sc:2].
- Volcanic Gases Add Water to the Earth
- Volcanoes Can Be a Refuge for Plants and Animals
It is now thought that volcanoes may have also provided a warm refuge for plants and animals during the Earth’s past Ice Ages.
- Volcanoes Form New Land
- Volcanoes Produce Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide also contributes to the greenhouse effect, which, prior to the massive human contributions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere due to the relentless burning of fossil fuels, would help to keep our planet warm and helped to keep it from freezing. Volcanoes also provide carbon balance to the Earth, since carbon is the one of the building blocks that is important for all life on this planet.
- Volcanoes Produce Sulfur Dioxide
Scientists have recently discovered that this sulfur dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by volcanoes is also helping to keep global temperatures from rising even higher than they would otherwise have risen, slowing the global warming potential of as much as 25% of global greenhouse gases from 2000-2010[sc:7].