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Ken Johnson
In the long run, all that ash can be a good thing
In the long run, all that ash can be a good thing

Volcano ash can wreck jet engines, poison freshwater lakes and damage lungs. But it helps fertilize oceans, volcano researchers and marine chemists say. "The ocean is gonna be happier" because of the Iceland eruption, said Ken Johnson, senior scientist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. "Plants will grow more" — although how much more, he said, is unclear. About 30% of the oceans are what scientists call iron-limited — rich in many nutrients but missing iron, a crucial trace element for plants. Once the microscopic marine plants known as phytoplankton run out of iron, they can't grow any further. Sprinkling the ocean with all that...

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