Volcanic Causation

The problem of volcanic causation is rather contradictory and open to debate. According to one of the approaches, volcanic eruptions, “the sudden occurrence of a violent discharge of steam and volcanic material” (TheFreeDictionary, n. d.), are considered to cause catastrophic changes in the average climatic conditions. Having filled the atmosphere with sulfur compounds, volcanic eruptions would lead to blocking incident sunlight. Following by poor harvest, dry fogs of volcanic origin caused famine and disease pandemics of plague during the following 5 years after the eruptions (Stothers, 1999).

To prove the relationship between two phenomena, correlation and causation can be used.  Correlation is defined as “a statistical relation between two or more variables such that systematic changes in the value of one variable are accompanied by systematic changes in the other” (TheFreeDictionary, n. d.). Causation is “the relationship of cause and effect” (TheFreeDictionary, n. d.). Investigating the volcanic causation, Richard B.Stothers proves a causational relationship between volcanic eruptions and plague. Comparing the consequences of the seven catastrophic eruptions during the latest two thousand years, the author notes that his conclusions and arguments are broadbrush and approximate. On the one hand, casual coincidence of Black Death epidemics within 1 to 5 years after the volcanic eruptions is rather odd. On the other hand, a closer examination gives some reasons for doubt.   The famous Justinian pandemic of  plague of AD 541-544 occurred only in 5 years after the eruption of AD 536. In the case of  large volcanic eruptions in 1345 and 1340, the disease arrived in Asia 15 years before, in 1347. In fact, not all pandemics of the Black Death can be related with volcanic eruptions.

To sum up, the issue of volcanic causation is rather disputable. Though ,the relationship between dry fogs of volcanic origin and the plague epidemics can be observed, the Richard B.Stothers’s conclusions are not well-supported because of lacking strong arguments in its favor. Nevertheless, this contradictory question is open to debate.

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