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Volcanic Eruptions as Risk and Hazard

  • By: William I. Rose
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Volcanoes are a principal agent of degassing of the interior of the Earth and other planets. They are thought to be the main source of the Earth's atmosphere and hydrosphere, and thus they are a vital part of the sustainable Earth system. Volcanic activity has provided the air we breathe and the water that makes up most of our body mass. Volcanism also provides vital enrichment to the Earth's soils, particularly in tropical areas. In spite of the long-term benefits, the effects of eruptions can be seriously negative in the short run, so volcanoes can be considered a type of natural hazard that threatens life and property.

Among natural hazards, volcanoes have caused far fewer deaths and damage to property historically than have floods, coastal hazards, ...

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