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Volcanoes both harass and help mankind As dramatically demonstrated by the Mount St Helens on May 1980 Volcanic materials ultimately bread down to form some of the most fertile soils on Earth cultivation of which fostered and sustained civilizations People use volcanic substances as construction materials as abrasive and cleaning agents and as raw materials for many chemical and industrial uses The internal heat associated with some young volcanic systems has been harnessed to produce geothermal energy The Earths crust on which we live and depend on is in large part the product of millions of once-active volcanoes and tremendous volumes of magma that did not erupt but instead cooled below the surface For example volcanic ash blown over thousands of square kilometres of land increases soil fertility for forests and agriculture by adding nutrients and acting as a mulch Groundwater heated by large still-hot magma bodies can be tapped for geothermal energy And over many thousands of years heated groundwater has concentrated valuable materials including copper tin gold and silver into deposits that are mined throughout the world Therefore the benefits of living near the volcano outweigh the costs Given enough rainfall areas buried by new lava recover quickly revegetation can begin less than one year after the eruption Erosion and breakdown of the volcanic material can form fertile soils over periods of tens to thousands of years These rich soils fostered the agricultural development of the Hawaiian Islands as represented principally by the sugar pineapple coffee and macadamia nut industries This is also the case of Mt Merapi in Indonesia where farmers are excited and continues to plant new rice on the rich soil When snakes slither from their pits and move down the mountain thats a sign for villagers to toss rice and tonics of herbs and spices into the crater Mt merapi is one of indonesias Ring of fire hence it is a very active volcano Geothermal
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