As children, we believed that volcanoes are one of the lucifer’s devices from the hell to vex the residents of the Earth. Whereas some believe, whenever mankind turns blind in pride, Mother Nature always finds a way to bring us back to reality. But as we grew up, science gave the answers to all our misconceptions and doubts. Volcanoes are nothing but openings on Earth’s surface which directly leads into the reservoir of magma concealed beneath the Earth surface. The word volcano originally comes from the name of the Roman God of Fire, Vulcan.
So, here we bring for you the 10 most active volcanoes existing on our planet —
1. Mauna Loa (Hawaii)
The name ‘Mauna Loa’ means long mountains in Hawaiian language. It constitutes more than 50 percent of the island and is world’s largest active volcano. Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since 1843 and the recent eruption occurred on March-April 1984. Hilo, the largest settlement in Hawaii is constantly under the shadows of catastrophic eruptions. The volcano has been designated a Decade Volcano, one of the sixteen volcanoes identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI).
2. Mount Merapi (Indonesia)
Mount Merapi, the active stratovolcano which also goes by the name—mountain of fire had erupted 68 times. It is situated on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta. Merapi is the part of Pacific Ring of Fire which ages approximately around 4,00,000 years. Many historians believe that it was this Mount Merapi, which was responsible for the decline of Hindu Kingdom of Mataram in 1006. The Javanese, specially belonging to the older generation believe that the kingdom of spirits reside in Mount Merapi. Every year, the Javanese priest go up above to the mountain to make an offering for appeasing the spirits of mountain. The lethal eruption which recently occurred in 2010, claimed 367 lives, 277 injured and displaced more than 4.15 lakh people.
3. Taal Volcano (Philippines)
Taal Volcano was once a colossal volcano, which measured about 5800 meters above the sea level. As years passed by, prolific volcanism lead to reduction in the height of the volcano. Don’t underestimate the Taal volcano because of it’s small size. The volcano is just 1000 feet tall, but has been recorded for it’s deadly eruptions. One of the devastating eruption that took place in the year 1911, which killed almost 1334 people. It also has earned the weird title of being the world’s only volcano within a lake within a volcano within a lake within a volcano (Got confused? Read it again). This Pelean-type active volcano situated on the island of Luzon, had erupted 33 times. Today, it has become a famous tourist spot, attracting people for adventurous sports and employing the local people.
4. Mount Vesuvius (Italy)
The volcano that wiped out the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius is a somma – stratovolcano located in the Gulf of Naples, Italy. The formation of Vesuvius was a consequence of the collision of two tectonic plates , the African and the Eurasian. As a matter of fact, it is the only active volcano in the Europe’s mainland and at present, approximately 6,00,000 people live at it’s base which comes under the red zone. A surveillance center, Vesuvius Observatory was founded in 1841 to monitor the volcano.
5. Yellowstone Caldera (United States)
The massive magma lying underneath the Yellowstone National Park is enough to fear supereruptions. The reservoir of magma is 80 km long and 20 km wide as determined by the analysis of earthquake data in 2013. On an average, the Yellowstone Caldera experiences 1000 to 2000 earthquakes every year. Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Yellowstone Volcano Observatory have not found any concrete evidence for a megaeruption. If by any chance it happens, it will clear two-third of the population in the United States. The researchers at the University of Utah consider it as “one of the planet’s biggest time bombs.”
6. Sakurajima (Japan)
Sakurajima ‘s literal translate in Japanese is cherry blossom island. This stratovolcano has three peaks— Kita-dake (northern peak), Naka-dake (central peak) and Minami-dake (southern peak). The mountain is situated in a part of Kagoshima Bay which is known by the name Kinkō-wan. The researchers at University of Bristol say that the volcano is a growing threat on Kyushu island. The volcanic eruption in 1914 took 60 lives and burnt 3000 homes into ash. The eruption generated pyroclastic flows of 1000 degrees Celcius gas that could vapourize anything which came into it’s contact.
7. Ulawun (Papua, New Guinea)
The explorer, William Dampieris found Ulawun in 1700, when it was still in the process of eruption. Since then, it has erupted 22 times and have caused thousands of lives. The most active volcano in the Bismarck Archipelago of Papua New Guinea has a summit elevation of 2,334 metres. It is popularly known as Father Volcano as it is the largest, among all the neighbouring volcanoes. It is also listed in the Decade volcanoes.
8. Galeras (Colombia)
The most frequently active volcano is the Galeras of Colombia. It got highlighted in the news in 1993, when it erupted killing a group of scientists and tourists presented in the crater. Numerous minor tremors were also felt during the eruption in 2002. And an evacuation of 9400 people was carried out due to the eruption in November 2005. There has been 10 major eruptions and the last one, was in the year 2010. Galeras is monitored by the Deep Earth Carbon Degassing Project
9. Mt. Nyiragongo (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Located in the Virunga National Park, Mount Nyiragongo overlaps with two older volcanoes, Baratu and Shaheru. The volcano has erupted 34 times. It is dangerous and famous in all over Africa for it’s semi permanent lava lake. The 2002 eruption burnt hundreds of people to death and around 400,000 people were displaced. The city Goma exist at the base of the mountain which is expanding due to refugees and Government forces. Mount Nyiragongo is titled as the lighthouse of the Mediteranean as it has undergone continuous lava explosions.
10 .Eyjafjallajökull (Iceland)
Iceland— the most volcanic location in the world and Eyjafjallajokull—the most famous among them. This shield volcano ( entirely covered by an ice cap) erupted in 2010 and disrupted the route of air transportation for months. Such a level of air disruption never occurred since World War 2. But scientists also found positive outcome through this eruption. The level of iron content increased in ocean water which helped in sustaining several life forms. Katla, another glacier volcano 25 kilometers away from Eyjafjallajökull, often erupts following the latter one.