For an area in a world I am creating, 300 years prior to the present day, the northlands were destroyed by major volcanic eruptions. Would it be possible for there to be water accessible to a party journeying through these 'Ashlands' or would there be too much volcanic contamination?

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    $\begingroup$ Not exactly sure what you consider volcanic contamination. The effects of these eruptions would have thrown the world into a century long nuclear winter as well, this wouldn't be an isolated event. 'one city' wouldn't like survive either, changing land makes centralization more difficult. Ash wouldn't exist very long either...wind and rain remove it over years. Mind describing your world a bit better? $\endgroup$
    – Twelfth
    Apr 3, 2017 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ For my world, the city that did survive was kept so by a supernatural force that the people refer to as the Guardian. In the North, the people are surrounded by volcanoes and worship the fire. An event 300 years prior saw the elements unsettle. Maelstroms affected the Souther tribe, winds attacked the Western tribe, earthquakes decimated the Eastern tribe and volcanic eruptions crippled the North. For the last 300 years, these tribes have isolated themselves and began to rebuild. With a new event, the a party from the North needs to travel a month in the wastes. $\endgroup$
    – Wingly21
    Apr 3, 2017 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ What wastes? Volcanic ash is known to be extremely fertile. After a few decades the edges would be teaming with flora. Moving in more and more over the centuries. $\endgroup$
    – Mormacil
    Apr 3, 2017 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ That is a good point. That was a major oversight on my behalf. Can we assume that this world - which is a fantasy world - has been completely destroyed by lava, fire and the other associated madnesses that come with volcanic eruption. In this area, there is always a volcano in view and there is barely an area that hasn't been completely covered in molten rock. After years the rock has solidified, so would the fertile ash be able to produce flora on top of that rock? $\endgroup$
    – Wingly21
    Apr 3, 2017 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ Volcanic ash is also one of the best natural water filters in existence. Water and vegitation should be quite lush 300 years later. If there is current volcanic activity, sulfur tends to be the major contaminant to be wary of....it needs to be a constantly exposed to new sources of sulfur though...it wouldnt remain long. Are you familiar with iceland or hawaiis terrain? Former volcanic land is exceedingly fertile $\endgroup$
    – Twelfth
    Apr 3, 2017 at 22:08

2 Answers 2


Yeah! I think fresh water sources like rivers and big lakes will provide quite potable water.

300 years is a very long time. After 300 cycles of rain, water in surroundings will no longer be acidic due to all those oxides of sulfur and nitrogen. The SPM will settle down. That means, no longer turbid water. In fact, life would be flourishing because of rich nutrients which were ejected in the eruption.

In a nutshell, 300 years is quite long time for any contamination to persist in ecosystem, answer could be different for less than 50 years.


300 years is more than enough. In 1985 Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupted. The near city of Manizales wasn't even affected and the main source of production in the city is coffee. Deep containers of water can be blocked by the eruption rather than contaminated. And remember that acidulous waters are considered spa waters.


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