10 of the Most Interesting Volcanoes in the World

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

10 of the Most Interesting Volcanoes in the World

10 of the Most Interesting Volcanoes in the World

The most interesting volcanoes on Earth are those that leave us speechless. While all volcanoes are fascinating and great to visit, there are some that are so extraordinary that we find it hard to believe they are terrestrial phenomena. The volcanoes are like beautiful women: exciting and mysterious, sometimes dangerous and sometimes gentle but always ready to surprise us. Here is a list of the most interesting volcanoes on Earth:

1.  The most potentially destructive: Yellowstone Caldera

yellostone caldera
Yellowstone Caldera has the most destructive potential in the world. It is not for nothing that it was named a ‘supervolcano’. It is located in the Yellowstone National park, in the United States of America. Apparently Yellowstone lies upon a ‘hotspot’, which is a volcanic region thought to be fed by underlying mantle that is abnormally hot compared with the mantle elsewhere. This hotspot generated at least three supereruptions, namely, 2.1 million, 1.3 million, and 640,000 years ago. During the last of these massive eruptions, 1000cm3 of rock and dust were ejected to the sky. If such a hazard were to occur again, it would probably mean the end of us all: a huge blanket of ash would block the sun and this would lead to massive extinctions. However, scientists keep a close eye on the area and a supereruption is not likely to take place for tens of thousands of years from now.

2. The largest: Mauna Loa

larrgest volcano
Located in Hawai’i Big Island, Mauna Loa is the largest volcano in the world. When measured from base to top, the massive volcano measures more than 17,000 meters!  Even considered from sea floor, its height still reaches 9,000 meters, making Mauna Loa the largest mountain on Earth. This colossus is not only impressively tall but impressively active as well. One of the most active volcanoes on Earth, it last erupted in 1984 and in the past few years, there were signs that the volcano is awaking and it will erupt again not far from now.

3. The smallest: Taal Volcano

crater lake
Taal is the smallest volcano in the world. It is located on a lake which is located on an island which is located within a lake. Confused? Let’s take it the other way around: Luzon Island in Philippines is the location of Lake Taal in the middle of which there is a small islet called the Taal Volcano Island. In the middle of this little island there is a second lake of only 2 sq km, called Crater Lake. In the middle of the Crater Lake(the true crater of the volcano, photo) there is a tiny, tiny island again. Taal Volcano is not only very complex but very dangerous as well. There were 33 recorded eruptions since 1572. It caused many deaths and it is still active. However many people risk their lives in order to get to admire one of the most magnificent views in the world.

4. The youngest: Parícutin Volcano

the youngest volcano in the world
This is one of the youngest volcanoes in the world. It literally appeared from the ground in 1943. It arose in the cornfield of a farmer, in the Mexican state of Michoacán and reached five stories tall within a week. After one year only, it had reached 336 meters. It erupted continuously, though quietly, for the next years, scorching 25 km of land around it.  The nearby villages were covered with lava and ashes and thus, the inhabitants were relocated. In 1952 it finally stopped all activity and it seems that it will never erupt again, being a monogenetic volcano. One of the most interesting volcanoes in the world, Parícutin appears on many versions of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

5. The most beautiful: Mount Fuji

beautiful volcano
Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world, due to its perfectly symmetrical cone.  It is the symbol of Japan, a very important element of the local religious beliefs and one of the most photographed mountains in the world. Mount Fuji last erupted in 1707 and it is currently classified as active, but with low risk of eruption.

6. The oldest: Mount Etna

oldest volcano in the world
Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe. It is located in the north eastern Sicily, in Italy.  It is the second most active volcano in the world, after Kilauea Volcano, in Hawaii. Etna is one of the most interesting volcanoes in the world for another reason as well: it has the longest period of documented eruptions in the world, as these records go back 3500 years. The volcano itself is believed to be the oldest volcano on the planet, dating back 350.000 years. Etna’s latest eruption took place in May 2011, when the local airport needed to be closed because its runway was covered with ash.

7. The largest underwater volcano: Vailulu’u

underwater volcano
Rockne Hart Johnson studied the eastern parts of the Samoan island of Ta’u and discovered a seamount in the area. However, no further research was conducted until 1999 when a team of scientists rediscovered the underwater volcano which received the name of Vailulu’u. It is the largest volcano located completely under water, reaching 4,200 meters.

8.The immediate danger: Mount Rainier

mount rainier, usa
Mount Rainier is located near Seattle, in the United States of America. It is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. It owns 26 major glaciers which may represent a major danger for the entire area in case of an eruption. Although an active volcano, no eruption is expected any time soon. However, if such an event were to happen, the result would be catastrophic: it would imply great loss of life and property and it would devastate the entire area. One of the most interesting volcanoes in the world, Mount Rainier has not one but two fierce weapons: fire and ice.

9. The most destructive volcano : Krakatau

krakatau, most destructive vulcano ever
Krakatau Island is located in Indonesia, between Java and Sumatra. The island exploded in 1883, in the course of an apocalyptical eruption which killed more than 40.000 people. The explosion is considered the loudest sound ever heard in the modern history, with reports claiming that it was heard as far as Australia! The explosion was equivalent to 200 megatons of TNT, four times more powerful than the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear device ever detonated. One year later, when the first researchers ventured t the island, the only living thing they found was a spider in a crevice.

10. The most active: Kilauea

kilauea continous eruption
One of the most interesting volcanoes in the world, Kilauea is located in Hawaii. It is considered the most active volcano on the planet, but also the one with the most non-violent present eruptions. The eruption of Kīlauea Volcano that began in 1983 continues at the cone of Pu`u `Ō `ō (high point on skyline), making it the longest rift-zone eruption of the last 200 years. Apart from this event, the volcano erupted 35 times since 1952!
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