Taylor (1957) found ash-particle size to be one of the major factors causing differences in plant establishment on recent volcanic deposits in New Guinea (Mt. Lamington Waiowa Volcano Mt. Victory). Plants tended to get started earlier and increase more in cover on thin ash deposits than on deep ones.
That is because plant life can get buried under volcanic ash while the animals that depend on that plant life will starve to death. Another problem could be that the animals in the area will be inhaling the ash which can interfere with their respiratory system not allowing them to breathe properly and therefore killing them.
Along with water vapor and other hot gases volcanic ash is part of the dark ash column that rises above a volcano when it erupts. Due to their tiny size and low density the particles that make up volcanic ash can travel long distances carried by winds. When an ash column is moved about by wind it is called an ash plume.
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That is where the abundance of volcanic ash comes into play here. The ash contains dozens of minerals including magnesium calcium sodium sulfur copper iron and zinc; all important to plant.
Volcanic ash can erode pit and scour metallic apparatus particularly moving parts such as water and wind turbines and cooling fans on transformers or thermal power plants. The high bulk density of some ash deposits can cause line breakage and damage to steel towers and wooden poles due to ash loading.
Agriculture - Plants & Animals. Ashfall can have serious detrimental effects on agricultural crops and livestock depending mainly on ash thickness the type and growing condition of a crop the presence of soluble fluoride on the ash timing and intensity of subsequent rainfall condition of pasture and animals prior to ashfall and availability of uncontaminated feed and water.