Volcanic Eruption

Authored by: Susanna Jenkins , Katharine Haynes

The Routledge Handbook of Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415590655
eBook ISBN: 9780203844236
Adobe ISBN: 9781136918698


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At present, volcanic and human activity co-exists in uneasy discord: approximately 5.5 million people were evacuated, injured or made homeless during the twentieth century alone (Witham 2005). Increasingly, the world’s population and accompanying urbanisation, agricultural cultivation and industrial development are becoming concentrated in large conurbations that lie within reach of some of the most hazardous volcanic processes. The dense populations surrounding many volcanically active regions on Earth are testament to the benefits of volcanic eruptions, such as fertile land for agriculture, higher zones that capture rainfall for use in the surrounding plains, aggregate for construction, geothermal energy and even volcano tourism. With increasing aviation travel, explosive volcanoes without dense population settlements may still pose considerable economic and health risks to airborne populations and aeroplanes. Some of the busiest air routes cross the volcanically dense and active regions of South-East Asia and the north Pacific. The explosive eruption from Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland in April 2010 caused major disruption to air travel across Europe with significant losses for the aviation industry.

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