What Are the Negative Impacts of a Cinder Cone Volcano?

Cinder cone volcanoes are cone craters which are usually small and steep shaped made up of lots of little rock or cinders filled with gas shooting straight up into the air and cooling rapidly thereby falling back close to the source.

Because the cinders that make up a cinder cone have already solidified by the time they hit the ground, the cone is just a pile of loose particles, pretty much like a sand dune — not cemented together by flowing lava. Over time, a cone like shaped hill builds up around the circular crater. They occur commonly in volcanic areas.

Popular cinder cone are the Paracutin (which in 1943 began growing on a farmer’s field in Mexico), the Lava Butte which actually is just one but the biggest of the over 400 cinder cone volcanoes surrounding the Newberry volcano. There is also the Cerro Negro located in Nicaragua and is currently the youngest in Central America and there are many more.

Paricutín in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Photo: Karla Yannín Alcázar Quintero.

Paricutín in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Photo: Karla Yannín Alcázar Quintero.

However, small as they are there is still the question: what effects these physical features have on their immediate environment and the world as a whole?

A look at some of the most recently active cinder cone volcanoes would that they are ‘relatively friendly’ in nature. When erupting, they present a very beautiful and dramatic scene and since their lava have a tendency to cool quickly hence falling straight back down they often hardly endanger thousands of lives like other forms of volcano tend to neither do they lay waster to vast areas of land.

Some volcanoes will always have some adverse effects because all volcanoes give off ash, gas and smoke; a look at a famous cinder cone in Mexico, the Paracutin provides some insights. It first appeared in 1943 in a farmer’s field and over a nine year period covered around 100 square kilometres in rock and ash.

Schematic representation of the internal structure of a typical cinder cone. Source: USGS,  Principal Types of Volcanoes

Schematic representation of the internal structure of a typical cinder cone. Source: USGS, Principal Types of Volcanoes

The cinder cone volcano affected five villages and several hundreds of people were displaced leading to the Mexican Government intervening by moving the affected villages to new locations. Unfortunately this led to casualties as the old land occupiers clashed with the new people causing about a hundred deaths (which could be called the real casualties of the eruptions).

Adaptation to eruptions always differ based on communities with some moving away as seen above but some simply work their way round it like in the case of the Little Springs Volcano. Here, migration did not occur rather new sites were built around it taking advantage of the newly deposited cinder mulch which allowed farming. However, the lava flows are still not farmed yet.

Volcanic cinder cone,  Lassen Volcanic National Park, California.  Photo: Greg Schechter.

Volcanic cinder cone, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California. Photo: Greg Schechter.

References


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Effects of cinder-cone eruptions on human populations in Southwestern North America – https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2003AM/finalprogram/abstract_60011.htm

More About Volcanoes – http://science-at-home.org/more-about-volcanoes

Cinder Cone Volcano: Definition, Facts & Examples – http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/cinder-cone-volcano-definition-facts-examples.html#lesson

Cinder Cone Volcano – http://www.basicplanet.com/cinder-cone-volcano/