volcano

Volcanic Ash and Agriculture

Volcanic Ash and Agriculture

Over 500 active volcanoes have been noted in history, with approximately 20 currently being active on the earth’s surface today. North America is the third most active region behind Indonesia and Japan in the number of currently active volcanoes, with more than 50 eruptions recorded in the last four centuries. While not all these volcanoes are visibly violent, the more dramatic eruptions, the ones we most often see photos of, are those spewing ash many miles into the atmosphere. Is there reason to be concerned about volcanic activity in North America? Might they affect our weather and crop production? How about volcanoes in the southern hemisphere or those along the western Pacific rim? What effects do volcanoes have on our weather patterns? To answer these questions we must understand how volcanic ash is created and how its constituent elements affect the environment.