Why Do People Live Near Active Volcanoes?

Volcanoes provide rich soil for agriculture.
Volcanoes provide rich soil for agriculture.

For most people, it seems like a terrible idea to reside close to an active volcanic mountain that could erupt at any time. This opinion is especially true for those people who have never been close to a volcano and whose knowledge of volcanoes revolves around the devastating effects they see from the news. However, there are benefits that come with living close to a volcano.


The heat and gases from the volcanoes are enough to provide a steady supply of clean geothermal energy for powering electric devices and operations. Aside from that, the energy is used by the locals to make life a little bit more comfortable such as providing heated water as well as household heating should the need arise. In case there is no steam to provide energy, it is possible to manually create a source of steam. This process involves drilling two holes close to each other and pouring cold water in one. The steam is then collected in the next hole and harnessed appropriately. Countries such as Iceland and New Zealand make extremely good use of this energy with almost two-thirds of Iceland’s energy needs being met by geothermal power sources.


Every good farmer is aware of the richness of the soil close to a volcano. The minerals are not availed to the soil immediately after an eruption. The process of availing these rich minerals into the soil takes thousands of years until the soil lava integrates. When this disintegration happens, some of the most fertile soils on earth are created. Good examples of these soils include the fertile soils of the African Rift Valley, around Italy’s Vesuvius (the rich Naples region), around the slopes of Uganda’s Mount Elgon, and many more. The disintegration of the solid lava rocks can take up to 10,000 years.


Volcanoes are tourist magnets. While some people avoid these sites, there are millions who are enticed by the idea of watching a volcano erupt or a volcano that has just erupted. Consequently, regions that have active volcanoes have an increase in employment opportunities due to tourism that prompt people to keep living close to the volcanoes. Other features that form close to volcanoes that attract people include geysers, hot springs, bathing lakes, and many more. For example, thousands are attracted to the unique landforms of Iceland where tourists get the chance to interact with ice glaciers and volcanoes side by side.

Precious Minerals

The hot magma is usually accompanied by a vast range of minerals, some of them being precious. These minerals precipitate out during the cooling process or over time as the weight of solid magma creates pressure that may form minerals after several years. Examples of such minerals include gold and copper.

Culture and Finances

Some people, like the natives of Hawaii, attribute volcanoes to deities who have been worshipped by their ancestors. For such people, it is simply impossible for them to abandon their sacred ancestral lands. An example is a deity is Pele, a volcano goddess in Hawaii. For some, there is no financial wherewithal to move to safer places.


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