As Mother Nature flexes her biceps, all eyes are on Iceland as the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption continues to wreak havoc with travel plans not only in Europe but all over the world but what about volcanoes elsewhere in the world which are ready to fire at any moment? Not since 1st year geography have we been so interested in plate tectonics and hotspots.
So here I have compiled a list of some of the most dangerous recently active volcanoes in the world.
Located in Southern Chile, the caldera rim reaches 1,122 metres above sea level and is 3 km in diameter. The Chaitén volcano began to erupt on May 2008. The force of the eruption increased significantly producing pyroclastic flows and lava explosions. In February 2009 a partial dome collapse caused further pyroclastic flows to descend through the river valley.
The Mayon Volcano is located in the province of Albay, on Luzon, in the Philippines. Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, it is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines having erupted over 49 times in the past 400 years.
The largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy stands at 3,329 metres above sea level on the east coast of Sicily. One of the most active volcanoes in the world, Mount Etna is in an almost constant state of activity. The most recent was an ash eruption on April 2010.
Mount Nyiragongo is located in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The main crater is about 2km wide. Since 1882 it has erupted at least 34 times. Nyiragongo’s lava flows race downhill at speeds of up to 60 mph.
Whakaari / White Island
White Island is situated 28km from the east cost of the North Island of New Zealand. Eruptions here have produced both lava flows and ash explosions. Major eruptions in 1981-83 altered much of the landscape, and there were further eruptions in 2000 and 2001.
Mount St Helens
Mount St Helens is located in Skamania County, Washington, USA. It is perhaps most famous for the catastrophic eruption on May 1980 which resulted 57 deaths and the destruction of property for over 230 square miles. In 2008 steam again began seeping from a fracture on top of the lava dome.
Kīlauea is an active volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, and is one of five shield volcanoes that together form the Big Island. The current eruption began in January 1983 and continues to produce lava flows that travel from these vents through tube networks that discharge into the sea. This eruption has covered over 117 sq km and built out into the sea 2 sq km of new land.
The Soufrière Hills volcano features many lava domes which form its summit on the Caribbean island for Montserrat. After a long period of lying dormant it became active in 1995 and has continued to erupt ever since. Most recently, on 5th February 2010 an explosion propelled pyroclastic flows down several sides of the mountain at once.
Popocatépetl is the second highest peak in Mexico at 5,426 metres and is located around 70km south east of Mexico City. It is perhaps one of the most violent volcanoes in Mexico with more than 20 major eruptions since 1519. The latest episode began in December 1994 and there’s been almost continuous volcanic activity ever since.
Originally an island, following the lava flow of the 1914 eruption Sakurajima is now connected to the Osumi Peninsula in Japan. Sakurajima’s activity became more prominent again in 1955, and the volcano has been erupting almost constantly ever since, with 7,300 eruptions recorded in the last 45 years.