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The Daily Volcano Quote: volcanoes are indispensable evils 31 March 2009

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That, in the arrangements of the globe, volcanoes are indispensable evils, as far as they are evils, must now be apparent, if the view which we have given of their intimate union with the entire structure of the earth is correct. And if that structure be a necessary one, as we must suppose, we must not forget that the evils of volcanoes are, perhaps, infinitely overbalanced by their affording a vent to those volatile or expansible substances which are the causes of earthquakes, and which, as too many of these phenomena prove, would, if still further restrained, cause a far wider mass of evil. And if they do overwhelm lands, it is but to replace them with the materials of a better and more fertile soil. The most delightful and the richest parts of Italy are the produce of volcanic fires. Nay, even Italy itself seems almost indebted to them for its very existence; and thus, if they do destroy, so do they, to a far greater extent, add new tracts, new territories, to the globe.

Review of G. Poulett Scrope, Considerations on Volcanoes (1826), in The Westminster Review, vol. V, no. X (April 1826), p. 372.

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