So a politician in Indonesia made this media statement (translated with minor omitted irrelevant bits, original here):
Emil Salim: We must take advantage of Merapi's eruption
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Member of the Presidential Advisory board from the Economy and Environmental group Emil Salim says that the recent eruption of Mt. Merapi must be taken advantage of in the future, for the people's welfare.
"In the future, material ejected by the volcanic eruption must be taken advantage of for our people's welfare," said Emil Salim during a press conference at the "International Youth Forum on Climate Change" held in Jakarta.
Emil explained that a lot of material is ejected from inside the earth during an eruption.
"The material can be in the form of sand, silica, lava, crystals and others, all launched out of the bowls of the earth in large quantities," he said.
The material, according to Emil, can be used to increase the local population's welfare and engage the local economy.
"For example, crystals can be used to make jewelry and home decoration, silica can be used to make glass and other material can be used for economical purposes," he explains.
Therefore, Emil suggest that once the eruption is over, the local people must quickly move to make use of whatever they can to re-start the economy.
"This is the local's chance to rebuild and develop new technology, particularly for the younger generation," he says.
He admits that it would be difficult for the people (t.n. mostly farmers) to plant crops in the sandy ground, or feed crops on dusty grass.
"But by advancing science, some kind of techno biology (t.n. he said "tekno biologi" literally without quotes), we could make a system to solve the problem," he says.
He pushes the local people and the younger generation to quickly start after Merapi settles down, in order to advance new technology and restart the local economy after the eruption.
So, is there even technology to make direct use of volcanic ash? I even thought that the amount of volcanic ash from an eruption wouldn't be very high on the ground - it's spread out over a large area and a lot of it is quickly carried away by rain and rivers. And even so, would it make sense to try making something out of it?
I also didn't know that actual crystals can be spewed out of a volcano directly.