- A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface. The word volcano is derived from the name of Vulcano, a volcanic island in the Aeolian Islands of Italy whose name in turn comes from Vulcan, the god of fire in Roman mythology.
- The term “active volcano” can mean a lot of different things . Sometimes the hot magma under the surface remains in a constant state of stewing, blowing steam into the sky as a reminder of what rests beneath. Other times mountains that have lain quiet for decades explode into torrents of molten rock and lightning. Active, though, certainly means one thing: unpredictable. Let’s take a look at seven of the world’s more fearsome active volcanoes.
- Sakurajima was once an island, but a 1914 eruption connected it to mainland Japan by a lava flow. Thousands of small explosions spout from the top of Sakurajima annually, dousing the area in ash and serving as a near-constant reminder for the 700,000 residents of Kagoshima, just miles from the volcano, of the power resting within one of Asia’s most serious volcanic threats.
- Forget the notion that all volcanoes must have a massive cone atop a mountain. Some of the biggest volcanoes, dubbed super volcanoes, form calderas or sunken areas. Yellowstone marks the largest super volcano in the world with pretty much the entire park, largely based in Wyoming, brewing with activity. While that activity draws millions of tourists to marvel at the geological oddities like geysers
- Just five miles east of Naples, three million folks live within striking distance of the only volcano to erupt on the European mainland within the last 100 years. With an average cycle of an eruption every 20 years, Vesuvius had its most infamous in 79 AD when it buried the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The fact that Vesuvius hasn’t erupted since 1944 means that this volcano is overdue for a blast.
|1||Mount Vesuvius||Naples, Italy||In AD79 (almost two thousand years ago!) it erupted. It was an explosive eruption, with no warning. Huge quantities of ash rained down on the city of Pompeii. The city and most of its residents were completely buried.|
|2||Krakatoa||Indonesia||In August 1883, Krakatoa erupted with several huge explosions. The explosions were incredibly powerful, and destroyed most of the island. The sound of the explosions could be heard 5,000 kilometres away!|
|3||Mount St. Helens Volcano||United States||Mount St. Helens is in the Cascade Range of mountains, which is found in Washington State, United States. Mount St. Helens was named after a British diplomat by explorer George Vancouver.In 1980, the volcano erupted, causing a huge amount of devastation.|
|4||Eyjafjallajökull||Iceland||Compared to other famous volcanoes, the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 was not particularly powerful. However, because it happened fairly recently, and affected a lot of people, it became very famous.It is dangerous for aeroplanes to fly through ash clouds, as ash can solidify on moving parts or clog up the engines.|
|5||Mount Pinatubo||Philippines||Mount Pinatubo is on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. In June 1991 the volcano erupted violently. In fact, it was the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.|
|6||Mount Etna||Italy (Sicily)||Mount Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe. It is located in Sicily, a large island off of Italy (Sicily is the ‘football’ that the country of Italy looks like it is kicking on a world map).Mount Etna is the largest of Italy’s three volcanoes, and is over two and a half times as tall as Mount Vesuvius.Etna is a very active volcano, and has been erupting regularly for thousands of years. Recent eruptions in 2014 caused air traffic to be affected.|
|7||Mount Tambora||Indonesia||Mount Tambora is on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa (Krakatoa is also in Indonesia). Mount Tambora famously erupted in 1815. It was one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history.The eruption affected the weather all around the world.|
|8||Mauna Loa||Hawaii||Hawaii has two famous volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Mauna Loa means ‘Long Mountain’ in Hawaiian, and Mauna Loa is the largest active volcano in the world.Mauna Loa does not erupt as violently as other volcanoes, but it does produce a large amount of lava. However, this is usually quite slow-moving (usually slower than walking pace).|
|9||Mount Pelée||West Indies||Mount Pelée is found on the island of Martinique in the West Indies. It erupted in May 1902, killing over 40,000 people, most of whom lived in the nearby city of St. Pierre. Most of the casualties were due to fast moving pyroclastic flows – hot gas and ash that flows from a volcano. One of the two people in St. Pierre to have survived the eruption was a murderer who was in the city’s prison|
|10||Cotopaxi||Ecuador||Cotopaxi is a famous volcano in Ecuador. It is the second highest peak in the South American country, and one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Cotopaxi is also one of, if not the, most active volcanoes in the world. Despite this, it is a popular mountain for mountaineers to climb.|