I have an idea for a region of the world I am working on, and I'm not sure how realistic it is.
Basically, the area is an equatorial jungle, closely bordering the ocean on one side. As a result there is a lot of heat, and frequent rainfall from ocean winds bringing tropical storms. However, in semi-recent history (say 1000 years) the area has become an active volcanic area, resulting in several small volcanoes (mix of both strato and shield) and semi-regular eruptions, earthquakes and steam vents in the jungle.
Obvious effects of this would be that:
- The lava from such eruptions would be highly likely to start forest fires and kill off local animals
- The volcanic ash would limit sunlight in the area and create a pseudo-winter after major eruptions
- Most sources of groundwater would be high mineral content and toxic to conventional life
- But the rich volcanic soil left afterwards should promote rapid regrowth of plant life
Assuming these volcanoes don't kill off the entire area of jungle, the idea is that after the eruption and after the lava solidifies, the jungle vegetation quickly expands back over the new land to reclaim it, covering most of the active volcano in the process. The result of this process repeated over and over is a very rocky and hilly area, appearing much like Karst landscapes, with complex underground structures formed from cooled lava tubes, earthquake crevices and petrified trees creating pockets underground of stone forests and rivers. It also promotes the evolution of fast-growing and resilient plants with a high heat and sulfur tolerance, but which cannot spread to cooler and less mineral-rich areas.
Basically, my main questions with this scenario is How long after an eruption would vegetation be able to reclaim the area? How long would it take for soil to cover the cooled lava flows enough to support trees? This would help me determine how often the eruptions happen.