Microbiology of Volcanic Environments

  • Charles S. Cockell
  • Laura Kelly
  • Stephen Summers


Volcanism may be defined as “the manifestation at the surface of a planet or satellite of internal thermal processes through the emission at the surface of solid, liquid, or gaseous products” (Francis 1993). At any given time there are active volcanoes in some location on the Earth (Schminke 2004). Environments resulting from volcanic activity are diverse, from acidic hot springs to deep-ocean basaltic habitats and volcanic soils.

It is not possible to do justice to the microbiological investigation of all these environments in a single chapter. As thermophilic microorganisms are covered by separate chapters they will not be discussed here. In this chapter focus is given to rocky volcanic environments generated by eruptions and the soils they produce. In terms of land area, volcanic rocks and soil dominate the products of volcanism. For example in India alone, the volcanically formed Deccan Traps, an area of basalt, cover over one million square kilometers. Volcanic rocks...


Volcanic Rock Microbial Diversity Volcanic Soil Basaltic Glass Knipovich Ridge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the Leverhulme Trust (project number F/00 269/N) and the Royal Society for support for the work on microorganisms in volcanic environments.


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© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles S. Cockell
    • 1
  • Laura Kelly
    • 1
  • Stephen Summers
    • 1
  1. 1.Geomicrobiology Research Group, CEPSAROpen UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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