Volcanoes Are Good

Craig McClain over at Deep Sea News has been spewing some vile libel about our magmatic companions:

Two spectacularly awful events occurred in the ocean. Ocean anoxic event 1 (120mya) and 2 (93 mya). Rather unshockingly, the complete lack of oxygen in the oceans led to major extinctions. But what caused the OAE? New evidence strengthens the link between OAE2 and volcanism (but not Vulcans whose large brains are also known to cause major oxygen depletion).


[V]olcanoes are evil and an enemy of our salty friends.

Evil? Just because Earth life is too weak to handle the occasional flood basalt without losing half its species? Why, without volcanoes, there wouldn’t be any life on Earth at all! Let me remind you of just a few of the things volcanoes do for this planet:

  • Volcanoes bring water from the Earth’s interior to its exterior. What do you think your salty friends are swimming in – space unicorn pee?
  • Volcanoes also flux out CO2, which keeps us warm and cozy. Without volcanoes, we never would have escaped from Snowball Earth.
  • Ditto other volatiles. Do you want to try life without volcanic sulfur? I don’t either.
  • Volcanoes created the continents (and islands). Without continents, there would be no primeval life-cradling tide pools. Also, we would be mermaids.
  • Submarine volcanoes provide a source of energy for all manner of exotic salty friends.

Volcanoes were here before we snotty, ungrateful hydrocarbons metamorphosed from the goo, and volcanoes will be here after we’re gone. They’re not always perfect, but they work their calderas off to provide us with a hospitable surface environment. Punk metazoans oughta show a little more respect.


  1. Monte Davis wrote:

    Meatsacks are so vain about their filigree of low-T Pop-It and Lego. Their Great Big Deal phase transitions? A couple of kinks in dihydrogen monoxide.

    It was fun to watch them figure out how young the seafloors are, although they don’t realize yet they’re being painted into a corner.

  2. NJ wrote:

    Punk metazoans would be a great band name…

  3. BrianR wrote:

    well said

  4. Kerr wrote:

    Also, they might keep Green Gabbro employed. :)

  5. Peter wrote:

    “Volcanoes created the continents (and islands). Without continents, there would be no primeval life-cradling tide pools. Also, we would be mermaids.”

    AHA! Proof that volcanoes are evil! They stripped us of our watery heritage.

  6. jj wrote:

    I didn’t know someone could get so offended over volcano. I say they ARE evil, didn’t you see that movie Dante’s Peak or Volcano (amazingly they were both released in the summer of 1997)?

  7. CR McClain wrote:


  8. Jay wrote:

    They appear to be doing the balancing job helping creation of life in extreme environments and taking life in ordinary environments.

  9. Silver Fox wrote:

    As a geologist with an obviously geologically distorted mind, I always wanted to have one in my backyard.

  10. Chris Rowan wrote:

    Not only are volcanoes good, but they rescue us from the dire consequences of marine export productivity. Besides, what’s the occasional flood basalt between friends?

  11. octopod wrote:

    That is all.

  12. Aaron F. wrote:

    “Without continents, there would be no primeval life-cradling tide pools. Also, we would be mermaids.”

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  13. sue wrote:

    Maria, thanks for your comebacks to CR’s piece. This is one of the most amusing — and highly informative — exchanges I’ve read in quite a while. Had only been aware of just the tip of the iceberg (or volcano) in terms of the various impacts of volcanos on life and life conditions before this. :)

  14. Sachin wrote:

    Great worth reading info about volcanoes and “space unicorn pee”..Ha ha.

  15. Susie wrote:

    This is just one more demonstration of your sunny, positive attitude. When life gives you volcanoes, you make volcanoade. Or something.

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