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Chemical Weathering

Chemical weathering is the breakdown of rocks and minerals by changing their chemical composition by water, carbon dioxide, oxygen and other compounds.

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Volcanic Soils

Volcanic Soils


Credit: Zen41
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Soave_panorama.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The Soave region of Italy is known for its mineral-rich white wine. The ancient volcanoes of the region erode to nutrient-rich volcanic soil.

Why It Matters

  • People are willing to live on active volcanoes because their rich volcanic soil is especially good for growing crops.
  • Credit: NASA
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Etna_eruption_seen_from_the_International_Space_Station.jpg
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Italy's active volcano Mt Etna's 2002 eruption shown from the International Space Station (ISS) [Figure2]


  • Crops can be destroyed and residents displaced or even killed by active volcanoes, but still people choose to live in these areas.
  • Even ancient eroded volcanoes and flows become good soil for agriculture.
  • In nations with mostly poor soils, no amount of volcanic soil is wasted.

Explore More

With the links below, learn more about volcanic soils. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Why do people live on and near active volcanoes in Italy?
  2. What partnership allows life on Earth’s surface to exist?
  3. How does volcanic rock become soil?
  4. Which features of volcanic rocks makes good black soil for white wine?
  5. What does it mean when people say that volcanic soils are really fertile?


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