- from Volcanoes
Volcanoes have split personalities. For most of their long lives, they are quiet.
Their destructiveness makes headlines and history, but their generosity is often unappreciated. Inside the Earth, magma carries many valuable elements such as gold, silver, sulfur, zinc, and copper. As magma cools, some of these elements form minerals in cracks and spaces in the surrounding rocks, where miners discover them. Magma also heats underground water systems that can be tapped to produce heat and electricity. This geothermal power is clean and renewable. Volcanoes give us mountains to ski on, lakes to swim in, and hot springs to soak in. Volcanic landscapes also provide unique homes for animals and plants. And sometimes, layers of volcanic ash and rock preserve important clues about life hundreds or even millions of years ago.