With some noteworthy exceptions, volcanoes typically give significant advance notice of their impending eruptions, often clearly visible to residents nearby. Scientific analysis can often give decent general predictions of when a major event is likely, on scales of days to hours, giving people time to evacuate. Earthquakes generally offer no such precursors that help, and it is not possible to predict them except in terms of areas that are very prone to quakes and highly generalized probabilities of occurrence (e.g., “this or that area is likely to have an 8.0 quake within the next 30 years”).
A major difference between a volcanic eruption and an earthquake in terms of human safety is the possible locations where they can occur. The vast majority of potentially active volcanos are known and monitored, while an earthquake can happen along any fault line of the earth, though some are known to be more prone to earthquakes than others. This means that it is vastly more likely for an earthquake to be in a highly populated area than a volcanic eruption, causing a much higher casualty rate.
For more (basic) information on these geological phenomena, see below.
Earthquakes happen more often and can happen almost anywhere. Volcano eruptions only happen on and near volcanoes, so everyone that doesn’t live or travel near a volcano needn’t worry–unless it is one of the supervolcanoes that changes global climate patterns.
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