Volcanoes are one of the most destructive forces on earth. With approximately 50-70 eruptions each year, volcanoes can play a major disastrous role in many peoples lives. Volcanoes have a mass of weaponry that they use to destroy and reek havoc in the world today. Here are the top five most destructive forces a volcano has:
1. Lava is volcanic magma that has flowed to the earths surface.
While magma usually does not play a major role in the death toll of volcanic eruptions. Lava moves at a very slowly only a few kilometers an hour allowing people to easily out run it. It however plays a major role in property destruction. Lava can and will burn homes, forests, and any other material that will burn. It can also solidify into rock on or within property destroying its usefulness.
2. Pyroclastics are fragmented rock, globs of lava, and ash fall.
3. Lahars are a combination of ash and water that cause mudflows.
4. Pyroclastic Flows
A pyroclastic flow will make its' way down a volcano moving around 60 mph with temperatures around 1000 degrees Celsius. When a flow moves down from the volcano it can uproot trees, and demolish buildings. The cloud of deadly hot gases and ash moves on a hot pocket of air gliding down burning all things in its path. These flows usually have no warning before they occur, as in a case in 1902. The volcano Monte Pelee on Martinique had a pyroclastic flow with no warning after its' eruption. The flow moved through the town of St. Pierre killing 25,000 to 40,000 people. Pyroclastic flows are by far one of the most deadly munitions of a volcano.
5. Toxic Gas
Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur gases, hydrochloric acid are all belched from volcanoes. While carbon dioxide isn't lethal in small amounts, the others can overwhelm people fairly quickly. Lake Nyos, the picture above, lies on a volcanically active zone. In this case carbon dioxide was released from the lake bottom forming a cloud that moved into a town killing 1,700 people through suffocation.
Volcanoes harbor a great deal of ways to destroy and kill. They have been a bane to humanity for millennia upon millennia. This article doesn't even touch the long term effects that an eruption has on the environment such as climate and atmosphere. These longer term effects can often lead to famines, and an abundance of colder weather for a number of years further showing the power of volcanoes to affect the world.