The experts can give you a plethora of scientific information on volcanoes, and all of it is fascinating. For the layman, however, volcanoes remain wonderful natural phenomena, whether to gaze at or to visit. It’s worth remembering that, during our childhood, volcanoes appeal to our imagination, perhaps similar to the way in which we discover dinosaurs. Unfortunately, dinosaurs can’t be experienced in reality, but volcanoes…..
Here is a top ten list of the most famous volcanoes around the world.
Mount Vesuvius, Italy
Classically historical, with nearby Pompeii, if you are interested in volcanoes and visiting them, it’s impossible to ignore Vesuvius. But Vesuvius is not all about history: Volcanologists state that Vesuvius is the most unpredictable volcano out there. The last time it erupted was in 1944. But who knows when it will strike again?
Mount St. Helens, United States
Famous for it gigantic eruption in 1980 when one part of its structure ‘slid away’, Mount St. Helens remains an active volcano; its last eruption occurring in 2008. The volcano is of great interest due to the amount of research and technology that has been used to understand it. For example, scientists, geologists, and geophysicists have built a 3-D structure of the volcano, with the aim of predicting any future eruptions.
Krakatoa is another iconic volcano, situated on an island in the Sundara Strait. The volcano is famous for the 1883 eruption which is still seen as being one of the most catastrophic explosions in the world. (Equally famous is the tsunami that swelled out following the eruption) It is situated on the Indian-Australian and Eurasian tectonic plates, famous for its volcanic and seismic activity. Krakatoa is also well-known for some rather interesting sunsets: in 1883, the dust from Krakatoa entered the earth’s atmosphere creating wonderful orange and red sunsets for an entire 12 months.
Mount Etna, Italy
An active volcano that is literally ‘on the move’. Etna gets its name from the Greek word “Aitne” which means “I burn”. Geologists believe that it has been active for around 2.6 million years, but even more surprising, that it has been moving for millions of years too. According to data, it appears to be creeping ever closer to the Mediterranean Sea.
MAUNA LOA, Hawaii
The world’s biggest volcano in terms of volume, and one of the most dangerous, Mount Loa is one of five volcanoes that make up the Island of Hawaii. Historically recorded as having erupted on many occasions, the volcanic activity in Mount Loa has even caused earthquakes.
Mount Fuji, Tokyo
Sacred, beautiful and clouded in mystery, Mount Fuji matches Vesuvius in its iconic status. Famous for its almost perfect conic shape, Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan. It is worshiped as a sacred mountain and is very popular with tourists. Adding to its sense of mystique, the atmosphere around Mount Fuji is often cloudy, with a little fog. If you genuinely want to ‘see’ the volcano in all its splendour, it is advised to visit in colder times of the year, and to avoid travelling in summer.
Mount Pinatubo, Philippines
Mount Pinatubo holds the record for having delivered the greatest volcanic eruption of the last 100 years. (June 15th, 1991) During that eruption, more than a million tons of carbon dioxide was thrust into the atmosphere, seriously impacting on the earth’s ozone layer. Not surprisingly, it is still considered an active volcano today, although Geologists hope to predict its future activity with the assistance of new technology.
Mt. Pelee, Martinique
Famous for its devastating eruption in 1902, in which 30,000 people died, Mount Pelee remains one of the most famous volcanoes in the world. Situated on the Caribbean island of Martinique, its activity is constantly being measured.
Mount Tambora, Indonesia
Responsible for the largest volcanic eruption ever recorded, (1815), Mount Tambora and its eruption was even able to block out the sun. Approximately 10,000 were killed by its lava flow and poisonous gas clouds. It remains active to date.
Mount Cotopaxi, South America
Still active, Mount Cotopaxi is one of the world’s highest Volcanoes, rising to 5897 metres. Situated on the famous ‘Rim of Fire’, it has for centuries been revered and is still believed to be a holy mountain by locals.