Volcanoes Make the Land Fertile
Major volcanic eruptions cause acute chaos in the world, but without them, the planet would end up as a cold snowball. The eruptions keep the carbon cycle – Earth’s integrated thermostat – going.
Volcanoes emit gaseous carbon, CO , to the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide heats the world via its greenhouse gas qualities.
In a warm world, more rain will fall. The rain absorbs CO , which combines with the water, producing carbonic acid – H CO .
The acid rainwater dissolves rock minerals. The carbon is bound in bicarbonate ions – HCO .
Bicarbonate is a basic building block, when marine organisms produce shells of calcium – CaCO . The shells end up on the ocean floor.
Continental drift pulls the ocean floor into Earth's mantle, where some of it melts, releasing CO , which forms part of magma. Finally, the magma ends up in a volcanic eruption.