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ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF IGNEOUS ACTIVITY

Look through the summary notes below and try some of the links which provides some
excellent examples which could be used to illustrate an answer on the economic benefits of
volcanic areas.
FERTILE SOILS

lava and ash weather rapidly and soils derived from volcanic materials are very fertile
(basic lava - produces very fertile soils - soils derived from acid lavas are not as fertile)

important nutrients are also added to the soil by volcanic ash which can also improve the
texture of some soils;

these soils can therefore support lush agrictulrue - e.g. the Canary Islands and on the
slopes of Mount Etna (Italy), providing an important source of income, enabling both
commerical farming and self-sufficiency (subsistence farming)

some good examples of the benefits bought from fertile soils in volcanic areas can be
found here (USGS site)

BUILDING MATERIALS

beds of volcanic ash which have hardened over time are useful as lightweight building
materials;

Lake District - lakeland volcanic building stone is commonly used (comprises of 450ma
volcanic ash)

Aberdeen - many buildings are constructed from granite and the city itself is sometimes
known as "granite city".

MINERALS / INDUSTRIAL RESOURCES

Many valuable minerals can be found in igneous rocks. Mineral deposits such as
Tungston are formed due to heat and pressure where magma is in contact with
surrounding rocks;

The circulation of water travelling through magma may also collect pressures minerals
such as silver and gold which are then redeposited elsewhere;

Other economically valuable minerals include Kaolin (China Clay), used in making
porcelain / china etc. - formed during the weathering of granite (several Kaolin mines in
Dartmoor from the granite intrusions); Copper (large deposits found in Chile - it is one of
the countries most important exports) and Volcanic sulphur - mined in places like the
Andes

Other volcanic products are used in industry, for example pumice which is used as an
industrial abrasive

Examples of Mineral products found in volcanic areas (USGS site) and check out this
page on Industrial products from volcanic areas (USGS site)

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY

as non-renewable energy sources becomes scarce, geothermal energy has the potential to
provide more energy;

many places already make signficant use of geothermal energy, for example Iceland and
New Zealand (bonus is it is unlimited and pollution free!)

Whilst in some instances hotwater is pumped to provide heating for domestic / industrial
use (85% of Icelandic homes use geothermal energy), other areas use geothermal steam
to drive turbines to create electricity;

Other instances include the use of geothermally heated greenhouses to support market
gardening (growth of vegetables, fruit etc.)

Examples of the use of Geothermal energy in volcanic areas (USGS site) - well worth
a look for getting examples

TOURISM

Volcanic environments provides many attractions for tourists - from the scenic beauty of
the volcanic landscape and the vast features that are formed - through to the attraction of
scientists for scientific exploration;

This contributes to the local economy through multiplier effects, providing employment
for locals in the tourist industry, brining in money to the economy through tourist spend
and generally improving the economy of the local area;

Examples include: The Isle of Arran (Scotland); Iceland; Hawaii and the geysers of
Yellowstone National Park (N USA)

See here for examples of recreation and tourism in volcanic areas (USGS site), see
also this USGS article on Spas and Resorts