There are thousands of volcanoes dotting the earth’s landscape. However, amongst them are a few that have captured the imagination of people all over the world due to their destruction caused. Here is a list of ten to worry about.
With the height of 3,334 meters, this basaltic volcano is one of the most prolific sources of sulphur dioxide in the world. Ulawun volcano is composed of lava flows interbedded with tephra composed of basalt and andesite. Ulawun activity includes Strombolian and Pelean eruptions. Eruptions originate from a central crater. The most serious volcanic hazard at Ulawun volcano is a catastrophic structural collapse, producing an eruption which could devastate hundreds of sq km in area.
Also known as “Mountain of Fire,” this mountain with the summit of 2968 meters is considered as sacred and every year priests climb on top to offer prayers. Most eruptions of Merapi involve a collapse of the lava dome creating pyroclastic flows which travel 6 to 7 km from the summit. Some awan panas have traveled as far as 13 km from the summit, such as the deposit generated during the 1969 eruption.
Sitting only miles from the city of Pasto in Columbia the volcano Galeras which is known as Urcunina among the natives rises 14,029 feet above sea level and has a somewhat ominous presence over the city while offering reminders of what damage it can perform. Activity at a low level has continued at Galeras, with small explosions occasionally dusting nearby villages and towns with ash.
The mountain’s peculiar name derives from the Spanish version of its Guanche name Echeyde or Echeide, which essentially means hell in the indigenous Guanche language. Teide is currently dormant; the last eruption occurred in 1909 from the El Chinyero vent. Historical volcanic activity on the island is associated with vents on the Santiago.
Known for its large lava dome, Kilauea has its own magma-plumbing system, extending to the surface from about 20,000 feet deep in the earth. Presently, the USGS (United States Geological Survey) has listed Kilauea as an orange level alert, because of elevated sulfur dioxide emissions from two of its vents and lava that is visible in the summit vent. (There are four warning levels – green, yellow, orange and red; red is the highest.)
Cotopaxi, rising 5,897 meters above sea level, with a base width of 23 km, is currently the highest active volcano in the world. It is located 80 km SSE from the country’s capital: Quito. It is now contained within a 340 sq km/131 sq mi national park, established in 1975. A llama-breeding station and a NASA satellite-tracking station are located nearby.
Mt Etna has the longest period of documented eruptions in the world. Etna is noted for the wide variety of eruption styles. The volcano is at its most spectacular when both summit and flank eruptions occur simultaneously. Despite the daily threat of Mount Etna erupting, tours into the unsteady heart of the volcano are readily available for the intrepid hiker.
The Unzen stratovolcano is sited on the Kyushu island, Japan. It had erupted in 1792 killing about 9,500 people by its hot pyroclastic flows. The eruption had triggered a devastating tsunami that caused another 5,500 people to die taking the total toll to nearly 15,000. The volcano was most recently active from 1990 to 1995, and a large eruption in 1991 generated a pyroclastic flow that killed 43 people, including three volcanologists.
Popocatepetl is a large, partly glacier-covered, composite andesitic volcano. It is located 60 km southeast of Mexico City on the volcanic front of the central Mexican magmatic arc. Popocatepetl is the third highest active volcano in the Northern Hemisphere. The volcano presents a great hazard to Mexico City and to other nearby cities and towns from a possible major volcanic eruption.
Mount Vesuvius is one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. The volcano has an eruption cycle of about 20 years, but the last eruption was in 1944. The volcano is rated as one of the most dangerous in the world with millions of people living close to the crater. In 79 AD an eruption of the volcano destroyed Pompeii and its remains are a popular tourist attraction south of Napoli. In recent years there has been an attempt to relocate some resident from the slopes of the volcano to reduce the risk from the next eruption.