Positive impacts of volcanic activity
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In this answer I will discuss the positive impacts of volcanic activity. These positive impacts are geothermal energy, tourism and fertile soils.
The first positive impact I will discuss is geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is heat that is generated by the plumes of magma that rise from the earth’s core to the crust. This magma heats the rocks of the earth’s crust. Geothermal energy is used as a major source of energy in Iceland. Iceland is a volcanic island formed by tectonic forces along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. In Reykjavik, geothermal energy from underground hot springs is used to generate electricity and to heat 95% of all buildings in the city including homes, commercial buildings and industrial buildings. The groundwater absorbs heat from the volcanic rock and cold water is piped down to force the hot water and steam to the surface. This generates energy, which is used to power turbines and thus generate geothermal energy.
Volcanoes and the impact of their eruptions are an important tourist attraction. Volcanoes, such as Mount Vesuvius near Naples in Italy, attract millions of tourists each year. The city of Pompeii, which was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 79 A.D., is also a popular tourist destination. Other volcanic attractions such as hots springs and geysers attract millions of tourists annually. Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, U.S.A., which erupts hourly, attracts millions of tourists each year. Hot springs in Iceland, such as the Blue Lagoon, have become a major tourist attraction. A swimming and leisure complex has been developed in this area making it an attractive destination for tourists. This has a positive effect on local economies, generating revenue and creating spin-off industries. The tourism sector is labour intensive and this creates employment in areas that include accommodation, transport, tour-guiding and souvenir production. There are also many benefits for the local people as their quality of life improves as improvements are made to infrastructure to cater for tourists. Examples of this can be seen in Southern Italy where more than 25 regions for tourism were developed by providing grants to upgrade and build accommodation and provide facilities. A new airport was also built at Calabria.
The third positive impact of volcanic activity is fertile soils. Volcanic soils are extremely fertile. Volcanic ash and cinders contain a large supply of minerals that act as a fertiliser for the soil. These soils are sometimes called Terra Rossa soils. Volcanic soils produce a high yield of crops. The plain of Campania at the base of Mount Vesuvius in Italy is an important market gardening area producing fruit and vegetables. Brazil in South America is one of the world’s most important producers of coffee as a direct result of the productivity of its volcanic soils.