Philippines residents unfortunately not alone: volcanic eruptions have accompanied us since the dawn of history • However, volcanic eruptions also have a positive side
Volcano eruption in Chile in 2015 // Photo: AP
The Teal volcano eruption in the Philippines is not the first eruption in 2020. Today there are about twenty volcanoes at various stages of eruption, most of them on the Pacific.
The first outbreak of the year was in New Zealand and then in Japan. Yesterday (January 13), the Skoraghima Volcano also erupted on the central Kyushu Island, and an ash warning was issued in Tokyo. The plume of smoke from the mountain rose to a height of 2.5 km.
The smoke from the Taal volcano reached more than ten kilometers. Taal is at the center of a lake of this name, created from a prehistoric eruption. Mount Taal has erupted 45 times in the last 500 years. The eruption in 1911 resulted in the deaths of about 1,500 people. The 1974 outbreak lasted several months.
Today, there are about 1,500 active volcanoes on land, plus another belt of active volcanoes underwater, on the ocean floor, such as in the mid-Atlantic ridge. About 500 of these volcanoes erupted during a period of recorded history. Most of the active volcanoes are on the edge of the Pacific, known as the "ring of fire". The United States has 169 active volcanoes, and those in Alaska belong to the same ring of fire that the Hawaiian Islands are in its center.
There is no accurate information if a single volcano eruption causes an eruption of additional volcanoes in the area. There are some examples of eruptions of some volcanoes that are 10 km apart, but it is difficult to determine if one eruption has caused another chain of eruptions.
More than 80 percent of the Earth, above sea level and below, is the result of a volcanic eruption. Gas emissions from eruptions over hundreds of millions of years have created the ancient oceans and the atmosphere, providing vital components for life evolution.
Apart from the damage to the routine of life during the eruption, the volcanic ash fertilizes the soil, allowing it to subsequently produce abundant food. Most metals such as copper, gold, silver, mercury, and silk come to the ground with the magma, and can be found mainly near dormant volcanic remains.
Stromboli volcano eruption in Italy, August // Photo: AP
A year without a summer
Volcanic eruptions change the weather and affect the climate. After the eruption of Mount Pinatobo in the Philippines in 1991, temperatures were lower than normal worldwide, with a thin volcanic ash reaching the stratosphere and forming a volcanic cloud. Cloud dioxide sulfuric acid, about 22 million tons, along with water created a cloud that prevented the sun's rays from reaching the ground. And in some areas the average temperature dropped by about half a centigrade. An eruption of similar magnitude may affect the weather for several years.
A similar phenomenon occurred in 1815, during the eruption of Tambura volcano in Indonesia, the strongest eruption in recorded history. The volcanic ash caused a 3 degree drop in global temperature. Even a year after the eruption, most of the northern hemisphere had low temperatures in the summer months. In parts of Europe and North America in 1816 it was dubbed "a year without summer".