Library Research Paper - Volcanoes

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  • Topic: Volcano, Volcanology, Luzon
  • Pages : 10 (3433 words )
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  • Published : January 7, 2013
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A Comparison on the 1883 Krakatau and 1991 Pinatubo Eruption, its Effects on the Local Ecosystem and the Rise of a New Flora and Fauna Earth Science and Conservation Biology

Cataclysmic volcanic eruptions disturb biological diversity of an affected region. These natural phenomena regularly occur and are a part of the geographical processes of the earth. A scientific belief that describes the large-scale motions of the lithosphere of the earth is known as the plate tectonics theory; this concept is responsible for the presence of earthquakes and most especially the presence of volcanic activities. Volcanoes are a result of divergent and convergent plate boundaries and they are predominant around the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is in the basin of the Pacific Ocean and it is in a 40,000 km horseshoe shape. The Pacific Ring of Fire has 452 volcanoes and is a home to more than three-fourths of the active and dormant volcanoes of the world (“Ring of Fire – Pacific Ring of Fire”, 2010). These occurrences bring about extensive destruction to local plant and animal life, smothering them with lava and pyroclastic materials. Throughout the course of recorded human history, there are numerous events of intense volcanic activity. The two cataclysmic volcano eruptions, 1883 Krakatau in Indonesia and 1991 Pinatubo in the Philippines, brought about massive damage and extinction to the local ecosystem and show how the two environments recover from the catastrophe and exhibit positive signs of resiliency.

Historical accounts of cataclysmic volcanic eruptions have been recorded since the time of early civilizations. Among the biggest volcano explosions in history is Mount Thera in the island of Santorini, Greece which dates back to 1610 BC (Our Amazing Planet Staff, 2011). It was home to the early Minoan civilization not until the catastrophe took place. Tsunamis and temperature declines complemented the eruption. A team of geologists consider it as one of the most violent volcanic eruption ever witnessed. Another noteworthy example is Huaynaputina in Peru. It was the site of the largest volcanic eruption in South America in recorded history (Ibid, 2011). Mudflows that reached as far as the Pacific Ocean and altered the global climate are among the effects of the strong eruption. The 1600 explosion affected the neighboring cities of Arequipa and Moquengua. It took these cities more than a century to completely recover. In 1815, the largest volcanic explosion ever recorded in human history is the eruption of Mount Tambora (Our Amazing Planet Staff, 2011). This active volcano has one of the highest summits in the Indonesian archipelago. It erupted violently that it was heard as far as Sumatra Island, about 1,200 miles away from Sumbawa Island. It wiped out approximately 71,000 people and its pyroclastic material descended on many distant islands. These volcanic activities were among some of the most remembered in recorded human history that brought about damage not only to local flora and fauna but as well to human civilizations.

Volcanic eruptions have a significant effect to the environment. They alter the local landscape, otherwise known as the geomorphological profile of the affected region. Also, the nature of the immediate atmosphere is severely affected and the local waters are compromised as well. Volcanic activity can induce loss of biodiversity – another output of a disturbance in an ecosystem. Among these environmental impacts of volcanic eruptions have been observed; are enormous amounts of gas and pyroclastic materials are ejected into the atmosphere, most of these are water vapor with traces of other gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen, and fluorine. These gases pose danger to the local flora and fauna. Acid rain is formed when sulfur dioxide reacts with water droplets in the atmosphere. Fluorine poisons the animals that feed on ash-covered flora. Volcanic ash has an impact on the upper...
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