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What are some benefits of volcanic eruptions?

Over geologic time, volcanic eruptions and related processes have directly and indirectly benefited mankind:

  • Volcanic materials ultimately break down and weather to form some of the most fertile soils on Earth, cultivation of which has produced abundant food and fostered civilizations.
  • The internal heat associated with young volcanic systems has been harnessed to produce geothermal energy.
  • Most of the metallic minerals mined in the world--such as copper, gold, silver, lead, and zinc--are associated with magmas found deep within the roots of extinct volcanoes.