Volcanic eruptions are nothing new. They existed even before humans did. It was believed that the erupting volcanoes have resided on the Earth since four and a half billion years ago. And, at some point in 2021, there were 68 confirmed eruptions from 68 different volcanoes.
This number alone is a great reminder that such a deadly natural disaster exists and continues to instill fear in its surrounding areas.
Read on to find out where the world’s dangerous volcanoes can be found.
Italy’s Mount Vesuvius is the volcano that buried the city of Pompeii under 7 meters of pumice stones and ash. According to the Smithsonian Institute/USGS Global Volcanic Program database, Mount Vesuvius underwent 8 major exploding eruptions over the last 17,000 years, its last known eruption was in 1944.
Around 6 million people live in the vicinity of the volcano. The Italian government has prepared numerous plans in the worse case of possible eruptions.
Novarupta Volcano is located in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. The volcano was formed in 1912 after the 20th century’s largest eruption. The major volcanic activity sent nearly 30 cubic kilometers of ash and debris into the air and produced a strong ash flow, eventually forming the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.
Fortunately, the surrounding area of Novarupta is not populous, however, the 1912 eruptions formed ash clouds and rained sulfurous ash across southern Alaska and some parts of Canada. According to the USGS, after three days of ashfall, the nearby city of Kodiak, Alaska succumbed to eye soreness and respiratory issues.
The eruption that formed Norarupta forever changes the types of volcanic activity in the region.
The Philippines’s Mount Pinatubo is the holder of the 20th century’s second largest eruption. It’s a close call between Alaska’s Novarupta. Its 1991 major eruption produced pyroclastic flows that formed a lake-filled caldera in the volcano and killed at least 722 people.
Currently, more than 21 million people live within 100 kilometers of Pinatubo.
Mount Agung, located in Indonesia, is a continuously erupting volcano. Its last major eruption was in 1963 and is also one of the country’s most devastating volcanic activities. The 1963 eruption lasted for 11 months and produced dangerous ash fall and pyroclastic flows. It resulted in more than a thousand deaths and property damage.
After an eruption in November 2017, Mount Agung has been under close observation throughout the following year. About 4 million people reside in the volcano’s region.
Japan’s Mount Fuji’s last eruption was in 1707 and was most likely triggered by a major earthquake. In 2014, after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Japan, experts warned that Mount Fuji is at risk for an eruption.
The 1707 Fuji eruption showered ash and debris throughout the neighboring areas and it even reached the city of Tokyo. More than 25 million people could be affected if Mount Fuji were to have another volcanic activity.
Mount Merapi is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes. It has been continuously erupting for centuries and its biggest risk is pyroclastic flows. On May 11, 2018, the volcano erupted and sent plumes of smoke into the air. More than 24 million living in the nearby area were evacuated.
Popocatépetl is located in Mexico City and is North America’s second highest volcano. The volcano has no massive eruptions but has periods of volcanic activity throughout the years.
In 1994, for the first time in 1,000 years, the volcano discharged smoke. Scientists warned that Popocatépetl might have a massive eruption soon, however, there’s no estimation as to when. If it does happen, it will bring 1,000-degree mudflows and pyroclastic flows at 60 miles per hour.
Mount St. Helens
Washington’s Mount St. Helen’s 1980 eruption was the deadliest and most destructive volcanic event in U.S history. 57 people and thousands of animals died and roughly 200 sq. miles of forest were destroyed.
Based on the history of explosive volcanic activity, Mount St. Helen is most likely to have future eruption activities that would send large amounts of ashfall across the Pacific Northwest, USGS predicts.
The volcano is under careful monitoring.
Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano is an active shield volcano that had its last exploding eruption in 2018. It is the most active of all five volcanoes on the Island of Hawaii. Currently, it is the eruptive center of the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain. It is estimated to be between 210,000 and 280,000 years old.
Kilauea Volcano is also extremely active and continuously erupted from 1983 until 2018. These eruptions caused damage and destruction, as well as strong earthquakes that triggered evacuations.
Given the name of the “supervolcano,” Phlegraean Fields, also known as Campi Flegrei, is an 18-mile-wide volcanic area with a history of recent, large, explosive eruptions. It is one dangerous volcano. It is situated close to the Bay of Naples, an area with more than 6 million people. It hasn’t erupted since 1530 but the volcano has given signs that it might soon. And it is expected that the effect would be devastating.
Scientists predict that Campi Flegrei could produce an eruption 100 to 1,000 times larger than the 1980’s Mount St. Helens eruption. If such a lethal eruption were to happen, 1 million people who live nearby would be instantly killed, ash clouds could blot out the sun and cool the entire planet.