Famous Volcanoes

Most people first learn about volcanoes in geography and history classes during their elementary school years. They may have even created their own volcano as a science fair project or during science lab time.


What is a Volcano

These huge, lava spewing mountains draw interest and attention from people around the globe. What exactly is a volcano? It is a natural chamber where the earth’s hot magna flows through in order to reach the surface. Although volcanoes seem exciting, they are not as wonderful and magnificent to the people who live nearest them and stand in harm’s way. On any given day, there is an average of 20 volcanoes erupting around the globe. In an average year, about 70 different volcanoes will erupt. There are numerous volcanoes around the globe, and about 550 of them have erupted throughout the years.

How Strong Are Eruptions and How are they Measured

Eruptions are measured on the Richter Scale. The scale, which was developed in 1935 by Charles F. Richter, assigns a single number to quantify the release of energy during an earthquake. An earthquake that ranks at least a 5 on the Richter Scale has shaking amplitude that is 10 times stronger than that of an earthquake measuring a 4 and it has 31.6 times greater energy release than an earthquake measuring 4. Of course the larger the number that is recorded for an earthquake on the Richter Scale signifies a more violent or stronger the volcanic eruption. In layman’s terms, one scientist described a volcanic eruption of 5.1, such as that of Mount Saint Helens in 1980, to emit as much force and power as the blast of 30,000 atomic bombs.

Some Famous Volcanoes

  • Two of the most famous volcanoes are located in the Caribbean. In 1902, Mount Pelee, located on the island of Martinique, erupted and killed more than 30,000 people. Soufriere Hills, which had been a dormant volcano, returned to life in 1995 and forced the evacuation of the entire island of Montserrat.
  • In Greece, a volcano named Thera completely wiped out Santorini, which was an island in the Caribbean. Thera’s eruption is considered one of the most powerful eruptions in history.
  • Another of the largest eruptions recorded in history was Krakatoa, which is located in Indonesia. It used to be an island, which was located near Java in the Sunda Strait, but it was destroyed by an eruption in 1883.
  • Japan is home to the famous and iconic Mount Fuji, which is also the country’s highest point.
  • The United States is home to Mount Rainier, an active volcano towering over Seattle, Washington. Scientists say more than 150,000 people live on mudflows from the volcano’s eruption more than 5,000 years ago.
  • Washington State also is home to Mount St. Helens, which killed 57 people during an eruption in 1980. More than 150 square miles of forest were destroyed by fire at that time. The 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens is considered the worst volcano eruption in U.S. history. Showing a 5.1 on the Richter scale, the eruption lasted for more than nine hours.
  • The Big Island of Hawaii boasts the tallest volcano in the world, Manua Kea. Manua Loa, also located in Hawaii, is the second tallest volcano in the world, and is the biggest volcano in the world as far as volume goes. On the eastern side of the island of Hawaii is Kilauea, which is one of the most active volcanoes in the world by almost constantly being in a state of eruption. Hualalai is Hawaii’s third most active volcano.
  • The Phillipines is home to two famous volcanoes. Mounta Pinatubo is an active volcano which erupted in 1991. Its eruption was the most powerful of the 20th century. Mount Mayon’s shape makes it special – it has one of the most perfect cone shapes of any volcano in the world.
  • Italy has three famous lava spewing mountains – Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius, and Mount Stromboli. Mount Etna is located on Sicily, and remaining in an active state constantly spews ash. Mount Vesuvius is located near Naples and scientists have documented it has erupted at least 30 times. Its eruption in A.D. 79 completely destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. Mount Stromboli, located off Sicily’s coast, has constantly erupted for the last 2,000 years.
  • Ecuador is home to Cotopaxi, one of the volcanoes of the Pacific Ring of Fire. It is known as one of the most active volcanoes in the world, with 86 eruptions having been recorded.
  • Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull is an ice cap as well as a volcano. The lengthy name means “island mountain glacier.” Its most recent eruption occurred in 2010 shooting ash clouds which resulted in the suspension of airline service around Europe. The crater measures about two-and–half miles in diameter.
  • Popocatepetl, an active stratovolcano in Central Mexico, has been spewing gases since 1991. The volcano is also known as one of the highest peaks in Mexico, standing at 5,426 meters.

Where are Volcanoes Located

Volcanoes are located all around the world, and visitors are always amazed by the beauty and mystery of the lava spewing mountains. While scientists constantly monitor volcanoes, they cannot be predicted to 100 percent accuracy, so it is wise to use extreme caution when traveling near active volcanoes. Volcanic eruptions can cause serious injury or loss life as well as the destruction of property. Seventy-five percent of the volcanoes in the world are located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area which is located around the Pacific Ocean. While we have plenty of volcanoes here on Earth, the largest volcano known to exist in our solar system is on Mars and is called Olympus Mons.


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