The effects of volcanic eruptions

Unlike other natural disasters such as floods, wildfires, and earthquakes, volcanoes can have some positive effects, even though they can be very disastrous.

Let us see some negative effects of volcanoes:

  • Eruptions occurring close to human settlements may spill and destroy lives and property. People often have to be evacuated.

    Example: Chaparrastique volcano in El Salvador started erupting on 29 Dec 2013. Anyone living within 2 miles of the volcano is evacuated.
    Source: BBC

  • Ash discharged very high into the stratosphere can have negative consequences on the ozone layer.
  • Landscapes and natural sceneries can be destroyed.
  • Ash and mud can mix with rain and melting snow, forming lahars. Lahars are mudflows flowing at a very fast pace.

Some positive effects of volcanoes include:

  • Different types of erupting volcanoes provide extraordinary scenery, so beautiful and natural that they attract tourists to the area, bringing in some economic value.
  • Places close to volcanic activities tend to have a higher potential for geothermal energy, which can be an advantage to the towns and cities.
  • Some ash and lava breakdowns become soils that are rich in nutrients and become good areas for crop planting activities.


  • El Salvador has about 20 volcanoes, and the area falls within the larger Pacific Ring of Fire (an area known for its frequent tectonic movements and earth activity). This Ring of Fire is the home of 75% of the world’s volcanoes.— Lucas de Jong, BBC

Volcanoes can change or modify weather systems. They can cause rain, thunder, and lightning. They can also have long-term effects on the climate, making their regions cooler.

In the news: 1st February 2014.

Mount Sinabung, Jakarta, Indonesia erupted with plumes of ash spewed more than one mile into the sky. The eruption killed at least 15 people as hot ash of about 700 degrees raced down the slopes of the mountain in just minutes. Those affected were within a 3-kilometer radius of the volcano. Full story Here