Volcanoes and Earth

Volcanoes and Earth

Length: 929 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓


Most of the gases in the atmosphere originally come from the Earth's interior. Gases within magma are dissolved because of high pressures beneath the earth's surface, but reduced pressure at the surface allows dissolved gases to expand and escape. When a volcano erupts, gases such as sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, chlorine, argon, sulfur, carbon monoxide, fluorine, and water vapor escape into the atmosphere.

Although many of the gases emitted during a volcanic eruption can be helpful to the earth, a lot of the gases can be disruptive to the earth system. Quite possibly the only gas that is generally better for the atmosphere than the rest of the gases is water vapor. Although it is a greenhouse gas, water vapor from volcanic eruptions adds to the earth's water supply. Sulfur dioxide emitted from volcanic eruptions is one of the main chemical compounds responsible for the earth's already dangerous acid rain problem. Carbon dioxide is universally considered one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases on the planet. Increases in this gas have been proven to cause an increase in the average temperature of the Earth. Global warming can result in the melting of polar ice caps. This melting causes the rising of ocean levels, which can flood coastal cities.

Volcanoes contribute about 110 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. Although this can be viewed as a bad problem for the ever-increasing problem of global warming, volcanoes can actually cause the opposite effect. Volcanoes can help cool the earth's surface by forming sulfuric acid aerosols that reflect the sun's rays. This is contradicted though by the carbon dioxide that adds to the greenhouse effect.

Weather patterns can be disrupted by sulfur dioxide. In a reaction involving the sun and water vapor, sulfur dioxide can turn into sulfuric acid. This sulfuric acid can combine with rain and cause acid rain to fall to earth. Sulfuric aerosol remains in the air long after the volcano has erupted. These aerosols can last for years and studies have shown a strong correlation between periods of long-term sulfuric aerosol layers in the atmosphere and a resulting temperature decrease during those same years. Without replenishment, the sulfuric acid aerosol layer around the earth is gradually depleted, but it is renewed by each eruption rich in sulfur dioxide. This was determined after the eruptions of such volcanoes as El Chichon in Mexico and Mt.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Volcanoes and Earth." 123HelpMe.com. 06 Dec 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Impact Of Volcanoes On Earth As A Small Asteroid Essay

- To begin, Binderman explains that a supervolcano has the same impact on Earth as a small asteroid, and they have potential to effect the global climate for years after an eruption. Supervolcanoes are right here in the U.S. at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming as well as the state of California. Supervolcanoes only erupt once every few hundred thousand years, so it is very unlikely that we will experience an eruption in our lifetime. The impact that volcanoes have on our climate and safety is detrimental to our health and well-being, so there has been much more research since the 1950s....   [tags: Volcano, Volcanology, Yellowstone Caldera]

Research Papers
722 words (2.1 pages)

Volcanoes : The Deadliest Features Of Our Earth Essay example

- Considered to be one of the deadliest features of our Earth, volcanoes are not only beautiful in their own way, but they are certainly unpredictable and dangerous. Volcanoes are formed to ventilate the pressure that is within the earth’s mantle. Firstly, volcanoes can start out at mountains, and with time, these mountains can erupt, causing molten rock and magma to ooze out and flow towards the Earth’s surface. After the release of this contained pressure form within, then lava spews out, along with an abundant amount of ash, which can travel for miles through the air, covering almost everything in sight....   [tags: Volcano, Plate tectonics, Magma, Volcanology]

Research Papers
780 words (2.2 pages)

Types of Volcanoes Present on Earth Essay

- Types of Volcanoes Present on Earth Volcanoes get their name from the Greek word Vulcano. "To the ancient Greeks, Vulcano was Hiera Hephaistou…to the ancient Romans it was the home of the forges of Vulcan; to both Vulcano was the lair of the god of fire" (Bullard 1984). Since then the myths have all gone but the name Vulcano has remained as the symbol for all volcanoes. "A volcano is both the place and opening from which molten rock, solid rock or gas issues from a planetary interior" (Scarth 1994)....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
882 words (2.5 pages)

Igneous Rocks Are Formed From The Ejection Of Earth 's Volcanoes Essay

- Igneous rocks are formed from the ejection of earth’s volcanoes. Deep down inside earth’s mantle there lies hot magma. Magma is molten rock that is kept below the surface. This mixture is usually made up of four parts: a hot liquid substance which is called the melt; minerals that have been crystallized by the melt; solid rocks that have made themselves tangled in the melt because of loose materials, and finally gases that have become liquid. Magma is created by an increase in temperatures, pressure change, and a alter in composition....   [tags: Sedimentary rock, Igneous rock, Rock]

Research Papers
1413 words (4 pages)

Understanding Volcanoes and their Types Essay

- ... An increase in silica concentration results in an increase in magma resistance to flow (viscosity). Andesite magma which have high content of silica compared to basalt magma make up most of the composite volcanoes fragmental materials. This silica-and volatile-rich magma is what separate composite volcanoes from shield volcanoes. Although, andesite magma dominate fragmental debris, some magma intrudes the cones such as sills or dikes. Due to this multiple intrusions, the strength of the structural framework is obtained and therefore composite volcanoes stand higher than those composed solely of the fragment materials....   [tags: vulcanology, earth sciences]

Research Papers
1048 words (3 pages)

What Causes Hotspot Volcanoes? Essay

- Table Of contents Pages I. What is a Hotspot. 1 II. Hotspot Volcanism 1 III. What causes Hotspot Volcanoes. 2 IV. Examples and Locations of Hotspots 2 V. What is Tectonic plates? 3 VI. Movement of Tectonic plates Over time 4 VII. Super volcanoes 7 VIII. What makes a volcanoes super. 7 IX. Super volcanoes and Super eruptions 8 X....   [tags: Plate tectonics, Volcano, Mantle plume, Earth]

Research Papers
2198 words (6.3 pages)

Volcanoes Essay

- Volcanoes Volcanoes are natural phenomena which are on the Earth’s surface through which molten rock and gases escape from below the surface (Tarbuck, 139). These volcanoes are very interesting to observe and to study because of their amazing occurrences and majestic lava eruptions. Volcanoes have been studied ever since the beginning of mankind and the word “volcano” is thought to be derived from Vulcano, a volcanic island in the Aeolian Islands of Italy whose name in turn originates from Vulcan, the name of a god of fire in Roman mythology....   [tags: Natural Disasters ]

Research Papers
1223 words (3.5 pages)

Volcanoes Essay

- Volcanoes Volcanoes are holes or vents in the Earth’s crust, created when molten hot magma under the crust of the Earth is forced upward to the surface. Magma collects in a chamber beneath the crust, pressure builds up and forces it up through cracks or fissure and a conduit to the surface is created. Hot gases try to escape but are trapped in the magma. The surface of the Earth begins to bulge until the pressure can no longer be contained....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
373 words (1.1 pages)

Volcanoes Essay

- Volcanoes Distribution Volcanoes can be described as being tectonic hazards that occur in many parts of the world. The distribution of volcanoes is closely linked with the positioning of the tectonic plate boundaries across the globe. Today there are about 500 active volcanoes in the world. The world map of volcanoes in your atlas shows that the most volcanic activity occurs along the West coasts of North and South America, (along the Rockies and Andes) and the coasts of many Far East countries (in areas like Japan, China etc)....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
3854 words (11 pages)

Volcanoes Essay

- A Look Into Volcanoes I. Introduction Volcano: defined is a mountain or hill formed by the accumulation of materials erupted through one or more openings (called volcanic vents) in the earth's surface. The term volcano can also refer to the vents themselves. Most volcanoes have steep sides, but some can be gently sloping mountains or even flat tablelands, plateaus, or plains. The volcanoes above sea level are the best known, but the vast majority of the world's volcanoes lie beneath the sea, formed along the global oceanic ridge systems that crisscross the deep ocean floor....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Research Papers
2221 words (6.3 pages)

Pinatubo in the Philippines.

A gas that has a negative effect on the earth system is chlorine. When it is released from an eruption, it is added to the chlorine that already exists in the atmosphere as a result of the industrialization of man. Because it reacts so well with oxygen molecules, chlorine breaks down the ozone layer. To make the matter worse, chlorine atoms can recycle themselves over one thousand times and thus cause serious problems in terms of global warming.
Fluorine gas that is emitted from volcanic eruptions falls to the earth after it condenses in rain. Excess fluorine on plants and in the water can kill animals by causing fluorisis, which destroys their bones.

Gases emitted from volcanic eruptions can be both harmful and helpful to the earth system. Although sulfur dioxide has shown a decrease in the earth's average temperature, many harmful effects resulting from emission of gases seem to outweigh the positive effects. Carbon dioxide has been linked to the greenhouse effect and quite possibly could be the most harmful greenhouse gas. Sulfur dioxide is beneficial in that it can cool the earth, but it is also a major problem due to its direct causation of acid rain. Fluorine has been proven to cause death among animals. The appearance is that volcanic eruptions are generally more negative towards the earth system than they are positive.

Mount Pinatubo

Volcanic unrest at Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines began when steam explosions occurred on April 2, 1991. This volcanic activity resulted in the world's largest volcanic eruption in more than half a century. Volcanologists from around the world forecasted the events to occur in the coming weeks and organized massive evacuations that saved thousands. When the day came for the tremendous eruption that occurred on June 15, 1991, a typhoon still killed more than 300 and caused massive property damage, both caused by the tremendous mudflows and sedimentation as a result of the blast.

The Scientific Community

Volcanologists and geologists are somewhat divided as to the issue of whether volcanic activity is beneficial to the earth system. There are arguments on both sides as to the positive or negative effects of these eruptions. On the one hand, volcanoes can be very harmful to the atmosphere and to the earth system simply because of the abundance of harmful gases emitted from these massive eruptions. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and chlorine can be extremely detrimental to the earth's already frightening problem with global warming. Also, sulfur dioxide has been linked to acid rain, a very drastic environmental concern.

Contrary to these scientifically proven problems, there is also the sentiment within the scientific community that volcanic activity could possibly be more beneficial than detrimental to the earth system. Arguments from this perspective include the fact that the same sulfur dioxide that causes acid rain is also causing sulfuric aerosols that cool the earth's surface temperature. Also, although the original mudslides destroy land upon the initial eruption, studies have shown that just a few years later, the area around the volcano can be extremely fertile and can be helpful in terms of agricultural output.
Return to 123HelpMe.com