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Day 60 – Q.3 Discuss the impact of volcanic activity and the formation of volcanic landscapes on the geology, climate, and ecosystem of the regions they occupy, and how it affects human settlement and economic development.

  • IASbaba
  • January 26, 2023
  • 0
GS 1, Indian Geography, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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Discuss the impact of volcanic activity and the formation of volcanic landscapes on the geology, climate, and ecosystem of the regions they occupy, and how it affects human settlement and economic development.

ज्वालामुखीय गतिविधि के प्रभाव और भूविज्ञान, जलवायु और उनके कब्जे वाले क्षेत्रों के पारिस्थितिकी तंत्र पर ज्वालामुखीय परिदृश्य के गठन पर चर्चा करें, और यह मानव बस्ती और आर्थिक विकास को कैसे प्रभावित करता है।


Approach

Candidates can start the answer with giving basic idea of volcanism and then write down how it impacts geology and climate also write down how it positively and negatively affect the human settlements.

Introduction

A volcano is an opening or rupture in the earth’s surface that allows magma (hot liquid and semi-liquid rock), volcanic ash and gases to escape. The volcanic eruption could have implications for the local and regional environment like earthquakes, landslides, lahars (mudflows), ash and thunderstorms.

Body

Climate and ecosystem due to volcanic activity:

  • The gases and dust particles thrown into the atmosphere during volcanic eruptions have influences on climate.
  • Volcanoes have also caused global warming over millions of years during times in Earth’s history when extreme amounts of volcanism occurred, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
  • Even though volcanoes are in specific places on Earth, their effects can be more widely distributed as gases, dust, and ash get into the atmosphere.
  • This is due to the atmospheric circulation patterns, eruptions in the tropics can have an effect on the climate in both hemispheres. Eruptions at mid or high latitudes only have an impact on the hemisphere they are within.

Geology landscapes due to volcanic activity:

  • Volcanic eruptions can create new landforms, such as volcanic islands and mountains, and deposit layers of ash and lava, which can change the soil composition and fertility.
  • Volcanic activity can also create new mineral deposits, such as gold, silver, copper and other metals, which can become an important resource for human civilization.
  • These mineral deposits can form in different ways, for example, in the form of veins and lodes, as well as in the form of volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposits.
  • The volcanic ash and rock fragments can also change the albedo of the region, which can affect the regional climate.
  • Volcanic activity can also create geothermal areas, which can be used for power generation and other forms of economic development.
  • Additionally, volcanic landscapes often have unique biodiversity, with many endemic species found only in these regions.
  • However, volcanic activity can also be hazardous to human settlements and can lead to destructive events such as volcanic eruptions, ashfall, lahars, and volcanic gas emissions. These events can cause significant damage to infrastructure, agriculture, and human health, and can lead to displacement of populations.

Economic development and human settlements:

  • Volcanic activity and the formation of volcanic landscapes can have both positive and negative impacts on human settlement and economic development. While they can be inhospitable and hazardous to human habitation, they can also provide opportunities for economic development.
  • For example, Volcanic ash and rock fragments can be used for construction and road building, and volcanic landscapes often have unique biodiversity which can be utilized for tourism and recreation. Volcanic landscapes can also contain geothermal resources which can be used for power generation and other forms of economic development.
  • Volcanic eruptions can cause significant damage to infrastructure, agriculture, and human health, and can lead to displacement of populations. Additionally, the rugged terrain and harsh climate of volcanic landscapes can make it difficult for people to settle in these regions.

Conclusion

Most of the active volcanoes on earth occur on the Circum-Pacific Belt, also referred to as The Ring of Fire. Volcanoes are a natural exogenic phenomenon that cannot be avoided, but developing disaster risk resilience will surely be a step in the right direction.

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