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Why do people continue to live in areas of volcanic and earthquake activity?
Ash is a fertiliser, and as soil around volcanoes is often covered in ash, it is very fertile, which
allows for high crop yields. Furthermore, the weathering of volcanic rock releases potassium
into the soil, which is essential for plant growth. The magma carries nutrients and minerals
such as iron from below the earth's crust. The ash then delivers these to the soil. Volcanoes
are popular with farmers, as they can produce better quality crops, therefore they can make
more money, although living on a volcano could prove to be highly dangerous. Many farmers
choose to live in these areas for the fertile soil.
An example of where volcanic soil is used in farming is Mt Vesuvius in Italy. Here, many
products are grown, such as olives, vines, nuts and fruit (mainly oranges and lemons) are
grown. Mt Vesuvius is still an active volcano, however many people still choose to live there,
due to the fertile soil.
Many people live in areas of volcanic and seismic activity because they are popular tourist
areas. This provides money making opportunities. Tourists visit these areas due to their
spectacular scenery, leisure prospects, volcanic features (Hot springs, mud baths, and
geysers) and some even to ski. These all provide money for locals working in the industry.
Tourist facilities also employ many people. Many people choose to live in these areas for
employment in the industry.
An example of tourism in an area of tectonic activity is the Blue Lagoon spa in Iceland. It is
one of the country's top visitor attractions. The water is vented from a lava flow and is used
primarily to generate electricity, before it is fed into the Lagoon. Reportedly, over 1.2 million
people visited the Lagoon in 2010 alone, which is an increase from the previous year, even as
world tourism figures are falling rapidly. This shows that volcanoes are popular tourism
destinations which can produce a high income for residents and locals, which is a major
reason why people decide to live in such areas.
Minerals are carried up to the earth's crust in the magma by convection currents in the
mantle, however many of these are left in the volcanic rock during the erruption, and so
they aren't carried into the soil. These minerals are often sought after, so mines are set up
in volcanoes. This leads to employment, and brings money into the area if the minerals are
rare. Mined materials include gold, silver, copper and sulphur. Miners live in areas of volcanic
activity for employment.
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In Indonesia, the Ljen volcano has a crater lake, which is the site of a sulphur mining
operation, because of the high sulphur levels on the lake floor. This is labour intensive,
however many miners still move to this area to find work there, despite the fact that the
volcano is still active and there is little protection from harmful substances.
Once the volcano has erupted, the solidified lava can be used for building.…read more