We all know that a volcano is an opening, or rupture, in a planet’s surface or crust, which allows hot magma, volcanic ash and gases to escape from below the surface. Volcanoes are generally found where tectonic plates are diverging or converging. These places are not dangerous as long as they remain inactive, but the actual danger is from the active ones which continuously spread some type of havoc in the surrounding areas. Here are some of them.
1) Mauna Loa – Hawaii –
It is an active shield volcano, with a volume estimated at approximately 18,000 cubic miles (75,000 km3),although its peak is about 120 feet (37 m) lower than that of its neighbor, Mauna Kea. The Hawaiian name “Mauna Loa” means “Long Mountain”. Lava eruptions from Mauna Loa are silica-poor, and very fluid; eruptions tend to be non-explosive and the volcano has relatively shallow slopes. Mauna Loa’s most recent eruption occurred from March 24, 1984, through April 15, 1984. No recent eruptions of the volcano have caused fatalities, but eruptions in 1926 and 1950 destroyed villages, and the city of Hilo is partly built on lava flows from the late 19th century. In view of the hazards it poses to population centers, Mauna Loa is part of the Decade Volcanoes program, which encourages studies of the most dangerous volcanoes.
2) Taal Volcano –
Phillipines – Taal Volcano is a complex volcano located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Historical eruptions are concentrated on Volcano Island, an island near the middle of Lake Taal. The lake partially fills Taal Caldera, which was formed by powerful prehistoric eruptions between 140,000 to 5,380 BP. Viewed from Tagaytay Ridge, Taal Volcano and Lake presents one of the most picturesque and attractive views in the Philippines. It is located about 50 km (31 mi) south of the capital of the country, the city of Manila. The volcano had several violent eruptions in the past causing loss of life in the island and the populated areas surrounding the lake, with the death toll estimated at around 5,000 to 6,000. Because of its proximity to populated areas and its eruptive history, the volcano was designated a Decade Volcano, worthy of close study to prevent future natural disasters. It is one of the active volcanoes in the Philippines and part of the Pacific ring of fire.
3) Ulawun, Papua New Guinea –
Ulawun is a basaltic and andesitic stratovolcano situated on the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea, about 130 km southwest of Rabaul. It is the highest mountain in the Bismarck Archipelago at 2,334 metres (7,657 ft), and one of the most active volcanoes in Papua New Guinea. The first recorded eruption of Ulawun was by William Dampier in 1700. Several thousand people live near the volcano; there have been 22 recorded eruptions since the 18th century.
4) Mount Nyiragongo – DR Congo –
Mount Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Great Rift Valley. It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, about 20 km north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu and just west of the border with Rwanda. The main crater is about two km wide and usually contains a lava lake. The crater presently has two distinct cooled lava benches within the crater walls – one at about 3175m (10,400 ft) and a lower one at about 2975 m (9800 ft). Nyiragongo’s lava lake has at times been the most voluminous known lava lake in recent history. The depth of the lava lake varies considerably. A maximum elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 3250 m (10,700 ft) prior to the January 1977 eruption – a lake depth of about 600 m (2000 ft). A recent very low elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 2700 m (8800 ft). Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira are together responsible for 40% of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions.
5) Mount Merapi –
Indonesia – Mount Merapi, Gunung Merapi (literally Fire Mountain in Indonesian/Javanese), is an active stratovolcano located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548. It is located approximately 28 kilometres (17 mi) north of Yogyakarta city, and thousands of people live on the flanks of the volcano, with villages as high as 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) above sea level. The name Merapi could be loosely translated as ‘Mountain of Fire’. The etymology of the name came from Meru-Api; from the Javanese combined words; Meru means “mountain” refer to mythical mountain of Gods in Hinduism, and api means “fire”. Smoke can be seen emerging from the mountaintop at least 300 days a year, and several eruptions have caused fatalities. Hot gas from a large explosion killed 27 people on 22 November in 1994, mostly in the town of Muntilan, west of the volcano.Another large eruption occurred in 2006, shortly before the Yogyakarta earthquake. In light of the hazards that Merapi poses to populated areas, it has been designated as one of the Decade Volcanoes.
6) Galeras –
Colombia – Galeras (Urcunina among the 16th-century indigenous people) is an Andean stratovolcano in the Colombian department of Nariño, near the departmental capital Pasto. Its summit rises 4,276 metres (14,029 ft) above sea level. It has erupted frequently since the Spanish conquest, with its first historical eruption being recorded on December 7, 1580.A 1993 eruption killed nine people, including six scientists who had descended into the volcano’s crater to sample gases.It is currently the most active volcano in Colombia.
7) Sakurajima –
Japan – Sakurajima also romanized as Sakurashima or Sakura-jima, is an active composite volcano (stratovolcano) and a former island (now connected to the mainland) of the same name in Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyūshū, Japan. The lava flows of the 1914 eruption caused the former island to be connected with the Osumi Peninsula.The volcanic activity still continues, dropping large amounts of volcanic ash on the surroundings. Earlier eruptions built the white sands highlands in the region. Sakurajima is a composite mountain. Its summit is split into three peaks, Kitadake (northern peak), Nakadake (central peak) and Minamidake (southern peak) which is active now.
8) Popocatépetl – Mexico –
Popocatépetl also known as “Popochowa” by the local population is an active volcano and, at 5,426 m (17,802 ft), the second highest peak in Mexico after the Pico de Orizaba (5,636 m/18,491 ft). Popocatepetl is linked to the Iztaccihuatl volcano to the north by the high saddle known as the Paso de Cortés, and lies in the eastern half of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. Popocatepetl is 70 km (43 mi) southeast of Mexico City, from where it can be seen regularly, depending on atmospheric conditions. The residents of Puebla, a mere 40 km (25 mi) east of the volcano, enjoy the views of the snowy and glacier-clad mountain almost all year long. The volcano is also one of the three tall peaks in Mexico to contain glaciers, the others being Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba. Magma erupted from Popocatepetl is a mixture of dacite and basaltic andesite.
9) Mount Vesuvius – Italy –
Mount Vesuvius is a stratovolcano in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, about 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years, although it is not currently erupting. The two other major active volcanoes in Italy, Etna and Stromboli, are located the islands of Sicily and Stromboli respectively. Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the burying and destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. They were never rebuilt, although surviving townspeople and probably looters did undertake extensive salvage work after the destructions. The towns’ locations were eventually forgotten until their accidental rediscovery in the 18th century.
10) Yellowstone Caldera, United States –
The Yellowstone Caldera is the volcanic caldera located in Yellowstone National Park in the United States, sometimes referred to as the Yellowstone Supervolcano. The caldera is located in the northwest corner of Wyoming, in which the vast majority of the park is contained. The major features of the caldera measure about 34 miles (55 km) by 45 miles (72 km).