General Question

pitchtheview's avatar

How do volcanoes affect other Earth systems, particularly climate?

Asked by pitchtheview (170 points ) July 12th, 2010

I’m doing a school project for… well, school obviously. And this question has me a little confused. Anyone willing to clarify? :]

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I will help you figure it out by pointing you in the right direction.

Review the material on this website and this Website.

UScitizen's avatar

Google Tambora, Krakatoa, and “the little ice age.”

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

When you say “Earth systems”, do you mean other areas on our planet (Earth) or on other planets in our solar system?

wundayatta's avatar

Think about weather and wildlife and plant life and geology. How do all these things change when a volcano erupts? Hell. Think about airline flights. What happens to the climate when the weather changes for long periods of time?

ETpro's avatar

In modern times, volcanic activity adds just a fraction of the CO2 to the atmosphere that human activity contributes. However, massive eruptions such as the Yellowstone Caldera’s last super-eruption 640,000 years ago caused widespread climate change around the Earth because it sent enough ash into the stratosphere to partially block the sun from warming the Earth for years. The blast is thought to have been so violent that it blew some material completely out of Earth orbit and into open space.

Given the Yelowstone supervolcano’s timetable, with eruptions 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million and 640,000 years ago—we could be due for a repeat at any time.

Andreas's avatar

@pitchtheview Adding to what @UScitizen said: Don’t forget about the Icelandic volcano eruptions of recent months, especially over Europe. That was felt particularly in Europe, but its influence was international.

Also the 1986 Mt Pinatubo eruption in the Philippine islands were horrific for the people living there, but gave magnificent sunsets in the area as far south as the western part of Australia.

There will be many other examples through history. Also check ancient texts of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger.

pitchtheview's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer
Oops, yeah, I meant climates on Earth :]

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@pitchtheview Thank you for the clarification.

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