Including those that are submarine or under the surface of the sea, there are about 1,343 active volcanoes in the world. Indonesia, which comprises of over 13,600 islands, has 76 historically active volcanoes, and about 80% of them erupted in the 20th century. There have been a total of 1,171 eruptions in the recorded history of Indonesia, although there may have been more that were not recorded in ancient times. Another country that has experienced a high number of eruptions is Japan, which has been a witness to 1,274 eruptions.
Most Dangerous Active Volcanoes
Almost all volcanoes on Earth pose little to no threat to humankind, but there are a few that cause devastating losses whenever it erupts. Here are some of the most dangerous active volcanoes on Earth.
Found in the Philippines, Mount Pinatubo produced the second biggest eruption in the 20th century, killing approximately 722 people when it suddenly erupted in 1991. Before the said event, Mount Pinatubo did not have a history of eruptions, which is why the Philippine government, as well as the people living near the volcano, were not prepared when it erupted. Despite how dangerous Mount Pinatubo is, there are about 20 million people living near it today.
Mount Agung is one of the largest volcanoes in Indonesia, and its last recorded major eruption occurred in 1963. The 1963 eruption was not an ordinary eruption, as it lasted about 11 months and produced suffocating ash fall that forced people to evacuate. Because of the devastating effects of the eruption, Mount Agung killed more than a thousand people. The last minor eruption for Mount Agung was recorded in November 2017, and since then, the government has been keeping a close eye on the volcano as it may produce another major eruption in the future.
Another volcano located in Indonesia, Mount Merapi is not as dangerous as Mount Agung, but what makes it scary is that it has been erupting continuously for more than 100 years. The explosive eruption will most likely not kill any humans; however, its pyroclastic flows will threaten the lives and livelihood of the people living near the volcano. It is reported that more than 22 million people are living in the area where the volcano is.
Considered to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the US, Mount Rainier is said to have the ability to produce overwhelming amounts of pyroclastic flows and volcanic ash. Mount Rainier has been covered in snow for years, but once it erupts, it will melt the snow instantly, which could either produce a mudslide or lahar. Unlike the other volcanoes where more than 10 million people are living near the area, the US government recorded only 2 million inhabitants, although they are still trying to minimize the population by evacuation and relocation.
Mount Fuji is Japan’s most famous volcanoes, and it earned its popularity based on its perfect triangle shape that looks stunning from afar. But don’t be fooled by this natural wonder’s beauty, as inside the volcano lie a powerful crater that can produce devastating eruptions. Luckily, the volcano hasn’t erupted since 1707, although the many earthquakes that Japan has experienced from 2011 to the present may trigger the volcano to become hyperactive again. If an eruption does occur, the Japanese government reports that 24 million people will be affected.
Mount Vesuvius is probably infamous for killing almost all the people living in the buried city of Pompeii in 79 CE, but despite its last dangerous eruption happening hundreds of years ago, the volcano remains active and may most likely produce another powerful eruption in the future. The last known eruption of the volcano happened in 1944, but the Italian government is currently monitoring the movements inside Mount Vesuvius for possible eruptions. In addition, the government reports that over six million people could be affected if Mount Vesuvius erupts today, although they have already set several plans to prevent loss in human lives.
Mount St. Helens
Mount St. Helens is highly regarded as the deadliest volcano in the US, due to the fact that it produced the most devastating eruption in the country in 1980. Fortunately, the government was prepared to evacuate most of the people living near the volcano, but there were 57 people who perished during the events. Mount St. Helens is currently being watched closely, as many volcanologists speculated that another deadly eruption might occur.
Like Mount Fuji, the Mayon Volcano in the Philippines is admired for its perfect cone-like shape, but it is also feared because it has remained active for more than a hundred years. The most recent violent eruption that occurred on the volcano was in 2018 when more than 55,000 people were forced to evacuate due to the high amount of volcanic ash and lava that it spews from its crater.