Four years ago, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, creating an ash cloud so big it disrupted air travel for months. Aside from the incredible pics that surfed the web, geologists now have an excuse to act cool and feel like it.
But seriously, all around the world, volcanoes recline like sleepy but very dangerous giants. So, it might be useful to take some notes and find out which volcano might kill you.
13. Bardarbunga, Iceland
This volcano is quite active. Though spectacular, it is also dangerous, but not why you think. Bardarbunga sits under 2,788 feet of glacial ice, so that could get interesting: the real-life version of steamed vegetables. Get the point?
12. Mount Yasur, Republic of Vanuatu
This is a stratovolcano, which means it’s built of layers of alternating lava flow, ash and blocks of unmelted stone. When active, stratovolcanoes erupt with great violence; however, Yasur is unique because, despite the fact that it has been erupting every few hours for over 800 years, it’s relatively safe. You can walk right up to it. Would you?
11. Krakatoa, Indonesia
Indonesia has over 130 active volcanoes, but the most well-known and terrifying is Krakatoa. In 1883, the island volcano exploded with the ferocity of 200 megatons of TNT or about 13,000 times the nuclear yield of the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima. But that’s the least of our worries, since in 1927 a new island, Anak Krakatau, or “Child of Krakatoa”, emerged from Krakatoa’s depths. Anak grows by 16 feet each year, so there’s something to worry about.
10. Cinder Cone and the Fantastic Lava Beds, California
This formation in California’s Lassen Volcanic National Park is a cinder cone volcano. Relatively young,this volcano is thought to be formed during two eruptions that occurred in the 1650s. It extinguished itself, but not before several basalt lava flows erupted from its base and damned several creeks.
9. Mauna Loa, Hawaii
Known as the largest volcano in the world, Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii; and, it’s still active. It has erupted 33 times since its first well-documented historical eruption in 1843, most recently in 1984. Hawaiian scientists agree that it will definitely erupt again, so beware.
8. Mount Mayon, Philippines
Mayon is renowned as the “Perfect Cone” volcano because of its incredibly symmetrical shape. Having erupted over 49 times in the past 400 years, and with the country’s seismology agency saying another hazardous eruption could happen soon enough, I’m guessing that’s now a safe place to live.
7. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
One of the most recognizable volcanoes in the world, Kilimanjaro is a giant but dormant structure in Tanzania’s Eastern Rift mountain range. Also note that Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak and the world’s highest free-standing mountain. People enjoy visiting and climbing it every year; it’s quite beautiful
6. Mount Vesuvius, Italy
Anyone remember the city of Pompei and Herculaneum, and that massive eruption in 79 AD? Well, Vesuvius has erupted many times since and is today regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Despite that, 3 million people still live in Vesuvius’ shadow. Couldn’t do it.
5. Mount Bromo, Indonesia
Though small, by comparison, Bromo features spectacular views and an other-worldly experience. Visitors to Bromo can witness the annual Kasada festival, during which local Tenggerese throw offerings of vegetables, chickens and money into the crater of the volcano. What a waste.
4. Mt. St. Helens, Washington, USA
In 1980, an avalanche woke sleeping Mount St. Helens, resulting in 150 square miles of forest getting leveled. The volcano continued to erupt until 1986, until a lava dome resulted.
3. Popocatépetl Volcano, Mexico
This stratovolcano is situated so close to Mexico’s capital city, it’s been nicknamed “Popo.” It was dormant for 50 years, before roaring back to life in the 1990s. It has erupted regularly ever since, and is considered one of North America’s tallest and most active volcanoes.
2. Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
This volcano, situated among Costa Rica’s northern lowlands, erupted in 1968 without warning, killing 87 people and destroying three towns with an avalanche of volcanic rock, ash and debris. After that, Arenal became one of the most active volcanoes in Central America, until 2010 when it all went quiet. Who knows what will happen next?
1. Stromboli Volcano, Aeolian Islands
Although it’s one of the most active stratovolcanoes in the world, this particular one has become famous for small but regular explosions that toss glowing lava from several vents inside its summit crater. Despite erupting constantly for almost 2,000 years, the Stromboli volcano is also an island village; several hundred people live here, and it’s also a popular tourist destination. No comment.