Extreme Travel

The most dangerous volcanoes on Earth

mt vesuvius

 (Shutterstock)

Volcanic activity is a harsh reminder that the world we live in is ever-changing and destructive. Volcanoes are mountains that open downward into a pool of molten rock below earth's surface. When pressure builds, eruptions and disaster occur.

As National Geographic explains, a large eruption can be extremely dangerous for people living near a volcano. Flows of searing lava, which can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,250 degrees Celsius) or more, can be released, burning everything in its path, including whole towns. Orange bursts into the sky, rocks shoot up, and lava rolls down the mountain during a dangerous eruption.

Volcanoes can cause flash floods, tsunamis, mudflows, rockfalls, and earthquakes. Indonesia has become the location of some of the most deadly eruptions. Tens of thousands of lives have been lost to ash flows, mudflows, and tsunamis. More than 80% of the earth's surface is volcanic in origin. The sea floor and some mountains were formed by countless volcanic eruptions. Gaseous emissions from volcano formed the earth's atmosphere (dosomething.org).

According to National Geographic, about 1,900 volcanoes on Earth are considered active, meaning they show some level of activity and are likely to explode again. Many other volcanoes are dormant, showing no current signs of exploding but likely to become active at some point in the future.

  • 1. Yellowstone National Park, USA

    Yellowstone National Park, USA

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    Yellowstone National Park is an active supervolcano. Yes, the majority of the park is a volcano. There have been at least three eruptions, 2.1 million years ago, 1.2 million years ago and 640,000 years ago. The most recent eruption collapsed and created a giant crater.

  • 2. Mt. Aso, Japan

    Mt. Aso, Japan

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    The Aso volcano is one of the world’s most active. According to Volcano Discovery, “3 people were killed and 11 injured by ballistic blocks ejected by an explosion that occurred at about 1pm local time on 6 September 1979.” They also explain, “2 tourists were killed by volcanic gas 100m south of the rim of Crater 1 on 23 November 1997. Since 1980, more than 70 people have been injured by volcanic gases at Aso.”

  • 3. Mt. Merapi, Indonesia

    Mt. Merapi, Indonesia

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    Erupting approximately every 5-10 years, Mt. Merapi is Indonesia’s most active volcano. Several of these eruptions have ended in death and you can almost always see smoke emerging from the mountaintop. In 2010, the Indonesian government warned nearby villagers to move to safer grounds. About 19,000 people were affected.

  • 4. Mt.Vesuvius, Italy

    Mt.Vesuvius, Italy

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    Mt. Vesuvius is located in Italy and is the only active volcano in mainland Europe. It is most famous for its historic eruption in 79 AD, which destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. In the last 17,000 years, Mt. Vesuvius has experienced eight major eruptions and approximately 16,000 people have been killed.

  • 5. Mayon, Philippines

    Mayon, Philippines

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    The Mayon volcano is frequently erupting. It produces extreme lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Frequent eruptions produce mud flows and ash falls that require all residents to evacuate. Lowland areas have been destroyed by eruptions.

    Check out more active volcanoes you can visit.

     

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