Where are the most famous volcanoes in the world and what makes them so special? Volcanoes are incredible feats of nature and are absolutely fascinating to learn about, and if you want to know more about the most famous volcanoes in the world then you have come to the right place! Read on!
- The 25 Most Famous Volcanoes
- 1. Mount Vesuvius Volcano, Italy- The Destroyer of Pompeii and Romans
- 2. Fuji Volcano, Japan- Known as “Goddess Of Fire”
- 3. Cotopaxi, Ecuador- Called the Most Active Volcano in Ecuador
- 4. Mayon Volcano, Philippines- Popular for Its Perfect Conical Symmetry
- 5. Mount Yasur, Vanuatu- The Constantly Alight Volcano
- 6. Krakatoa, Indonesia- Known for its “Loudest Recorded Eruption Sound.”
- 7. Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia- Produced the Deadliest Lahars
- 8. Mauna Loa, Hawaii- The World’s Largest Volcano
- 9. Mount Agung, Indonesia- Volcano Which Affects the Climate
- 10. Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand- The 2500 Years Old Volcano
- 11. Mount Pelee, West Indies- The Third Deadliest Volcano
- 12. Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica- Known as “The Youngest Volcano” in the State
- 14. Mount Etna, Italy- Home of the Roman God of Fire
- 15. Shishaldin, Alaska- Volcano with a Perfect Topographic Contour
- 16. Paricutin, Mexico- Recently Formed Volcano
- 17. Stromboli, Sicily- Famous for its Nighttime Eruptions
- 18. Villarrica, Chile- Chile’s Most Active Volcano
- 19. Pacaya, Guatemala- Popular Hiking Spot For Volcano Enthusiasts
- 20. Eyjafjallajokull Mountain- Where Volcano Meets Glacier
- 21. Paektu Mountain, China- Volcano with a Crater Lake
- 22. Bagana, Papua New Guinea- Most Frequently Erupted
- 23. Mount Nyiragongo, Congo- Creates Fastest Moving Lava
- 24. Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa-The Volcano with 3 Cones
- 25. Mount Teide, Spain- Third Highest Volcano
- Final Verdict
The 25 Most Famous Volcanoes
Have you ever thought about the origin of volcanoes? According to Roman mythology, “Vulcan,” being the god of fire, created explosions in volcanoes, which were considered chimneys of his forge.
Besides the legend, volcanoes are constructed on Earth’s surface when tectonic plates shift and cause eruptions—releasing ash, lava, and magma. Apart from the breathtaking views of glowing lava, gaseous emissions can be equally destructive, enough to wipe out an entire generation. On the contrary, the decomposition of volcanic material also produces fertile soil coupled with higher crop yield.
Surprisingly, over 80% of Earth’s surface is volcanic, with 1500 volcanoes providing the most intriguing landscapes. In this article, we have rounded 25 famous volcanoes with their jaw-dropping facts, so keep reading to learn the majesty of nature’s work!
1. Mount Vesuvius Volcano, Italy- The Destroyer of Pompeii and Romans
Located about 9 kilometres from Naples, Vesuvius is one of the famous volcanoes classified as a stratovolcano, joint with Mount Somma.
The residents of Pompeii had no idea they were residing next to a volcano before the 79 AD eruption. When the eruption occurred, a cloud of debris was ejected up to 33 km for around 24 hours. The masses then fell down in surrounding areas along with pyroclastic flows.
Sadly, the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed to such an extent that no action could be taken to rebuild them.
2. Fuji Volcano, Japan- Known as “Goddess Of Fire”
Mount Fuji, named after the Aino tribe’s “Goddess of Fire ” symbolises earth, fire, and sky. It attracts thousands of pilgrims to marvel at its beauty. This 3776 metres tall snow-capped volcano on Honshu Island boasts five beautiful lakes, a major source of tourist attraction.
Among the other famous volcanoes, UNESCO marked Fuji as a World Heritage Site. Although considered dormant, it could erupt at any time because volcanic activity has been discovered at four stages on Fuji.
3. Cotopaxi, Ecuador- Called the Most Active Volcano in Ecuador
The Cotopaxi volcanic peak is known to have erupted 87 times and belongs to the “Avenue of Volcanoes” in the eastern Andes. The strongest explosions occurred in 1743, 1768, 1853, and 1877, making it one of the most famous volcanoes in Ecuador.
The beautiful Cotopaxi resides in an open mountain grassland which allows the tourists to explore nature and enjoy wildlife tours. Following that, the cultural and theme tours at Cotopaxi national park might give you an unforgettable experience.
4. Mayon Volcano, Philippines- Popular for Its Perfect Conical Symmetry
This active and attractive volcano arises from the Gulf of Albay and belongs to the Island of Luzon. Unlike other famous volcanoes which are disintegrated as a result of emissions, Mayon Volcano remains in its picturesque state.
It is known to have erupted over 53 times in 400 years; however, eruptions here are moderate and strombolian. Furthermore, the dramatically sloped edges with lush green vegetation are eye candy for tourists.
5. Mount Yasur, Vanuatu- The Constantly Alight Volcano
Due to the persistent eruptions noticeable from the sea, Mount Yasur is also referred to as the “Lighthouse of the Pacific”. As reported by Captain Cook, the first eruption took place in 1774, resembling a “glow”, which has been active for 800 years.
In comparison to other famous volcanoes, Yasur is the most easily accessible live volcano located on Tanna Island. Nevertheless, observers are at a high risk of projectiles and gases, so remember to stay alert when touring here to avoid any tectonic hazards.
6. Krakatoa, Indonesia- Known for its “Loudest Recorded Eruption Sound.”
Krakatoa lies in a zone of high volcanic and seismic activity, located about 100 miles west of Jakarta.
The 1883 eruption was one of the deadliest yet loudest of all times, heard as far as Rodrigues near Mauritius- 3,000 miles from the volcano itself! The blast generated a force 10,000 times stronger than the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
The mountain is studied extensively by volcanologists and is a source of attraction for visitors. The magnificent lava lake allows people to dive into it and escape from worldly stress.
7. Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia- Produced the Deadliest Lahars
The Armero Tragedy ( Mount Ruiz eruption) posed a serious threat to humans and the environment resulting from the deadliest lahar formation. The four lahars moved at a pace of 60 km per hour, emitting a violent combination of hot ash and lava.
The broad icy stratovolcano is 80 miles west of Bogota and is called “The Sleeping Lion” by locals since it remained dormant for 150 years before erupting.
8. Mauna Loa, Hawaii- The World’s Largest Volcano
Among the other famous volcanoes on Earth, Mauna Loa is the largest in mass and area and one of the things Hawaii is known for. The name Mauna Loa is a translation of “long mountain” in the Hawaiian language. With an estimated volume of 18,000 cubic miles, this subaerial volcano covers almost half of Hawaiian Island.
Admire the immense beauty of Mauna Loa on a sunset picnic with your loved ones.
9. Mount Agung, Indonesia- Volcano Which Affects the Climate
This majestic volcano “Gunung Agung” is located at the highest point of East Bali, where the last eruption occurred in 1963. Unlike other famous volcanoes, Mount Agung affects its surrounding climate. The western slopes receive rain making them rich and fertile, whereas the eastern part remains barren and sterile.
This mighty volcano is regarded as sacred by the Balinese people, making it a site for their religious ceremonies.
10. Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand- The 2500 Years Old Volcano
In local Maori tradition, the true meaning of Ngauruhoe is “throwing hot stones’ which implies its active volcanism. In geology, Mount Ngauruhoe is the secondary cone of Mount Tongariro, formed 2500 years ago from alternating sheets of lava and ash.
Since 1839, seventy eruptions have been created, while the most recent occurred in 1977. You can enjoy the private Mount Ngauruhoe guided walks and follow the rock ridges on either side of the mountain. But the craters of Ngauruhoe release sulphurous gases; hence, be mindful if you plan to visit here.
11. Mount Pelee, West Indies- The Third Deadliest Volcano
Among other deadly famous volcanoes, Mount Pelee ranks third as it destroyed the town of Saint-Pierre, taking 30,000 lives in a blink, making it the worst volcanic disaster!
It is situated at the northern end of Martinique with an elevation of 4,583 ft and is composed of solidified ash and lava. Pelee is a French word for “bald”, which describes the scarcity of vegetation at its peak.
12. Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica- Known as “The Youngest Volcano” in the State
Being less than 7,500 years old, Arenal Volcano is considered the youngest volcano in Costa Rica and is located in the northern zone of the state. Seismologists have studied the massive volcano for many years due to constant active lava flow changes. Studies show that the active volcano is alive and is “sleeping.” Its lava dome boasts green hilly areas making it a tourist attraction with tons of animal species.
13. Mount St Helens, Washington- Caused the Catastrophic 1980 Eruption
On 18th May 1980, the most economically destructive explosion occurred in the history of famous volcanoes destroying 298 kilometres of highway. The eruption began when an earthquake of magnitude 5.1 triggered the landslide.
As the top of the summit deteriorated due to the eruption, the appearance of the mighty volcano was changed forever. It is believed that St Helens is shrinking as a result of erosion.
14. Mount Etna, Italy- Home of the Roman God of Fire
According to Greek and Roman mythology, Vulcan ( God of Fire) lived at Mount Etna and used the volcano base for his metalwork. It is believed that the eruptions were a result of his anger.
Dominating the skyline of Sicily Island, Etna is the highest active European volcano reaching 3,357 metres and surrounded by vineyards. Over 200 caves have been created here by lava flows, making it unique among famous volcanoes.
15. Shishaldin, Alaska- Volcano with a Perfect Topographic Contour
Shishaldin is a moderately active volcano that is highest in the Aleutian Islands, with a small summit crater releasing clouds of steam. The topographic contour lines of the volcano resemble perfect circles making it a spectacular symmetrical cone among famous volcanoes.
The Shishaldin Peak is less than 10,000 years old and was designated as a Natural Landmark in 1967 by the National Park Service.
16. Paricutin, Mexico- Recently Formed Volcano
This cinder cone volcano surged suddenly from a cornfield in Mexico in 1943, making it the youngest among famous volcanoes on the planet. The upper 2,012 metres is almost completely covered with snow.
Since humankind witnessed Paracutin’s birth, scientists can analyse its entire lifecycle from birth to extinction. Paricutin has been termed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World by CNN.
17. Stromboli, Sicily- Famous for its Nighttime Eruptions
Stromboli, the world’s most visited volcano, has exhibited firework-like gas explosions since 1932. This Lighthouse of the Mediterranean is renowned for its nighttime eruptions visible from surrounding areas.
The Greek name “strongule” was given to Stromboli owing to its rounded shape. Furthermore, it also serves as a natural laboratory to study volcano dynamics.
18. Villarrica, Chile- Chile’s Most Active Volcano
The bizarre eruptions in 1949, 1963, 1964, and 1971 destroyed many homes by the ejection of massive lahars. Currently, low-level explosions are common here. Roam around the beautiful markets of Mercado Fritz, or visit the mythological Enchanted Forest Pucon to see characters from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
19. Pacaya, Guatemala- Popular Hiking Spot For Volcano Enthusiasts
Being a popular tourist attraction, Pacaya stands out from other famous volcanoes. The complex volcano has several peaks with mildly explosive eruptions. However, little is known about its previous eruptions due to its isolated location.
Volcano enthusiasts can witness incredible views of scorched rocks or experience lava flows from a safe distance while roasting marshmallows here.
20. Eyjafjallajokull Mountain- Where Volcano Meets Glacier
The eruptions here are very fierce, with tons of ash because this volcano lies under the Southern Island’s mountain glacier, causing the glacier to explode. Apart from this, its ice cap covers 80 square kilometres with a huge magma chamber that obtains its magma from the Mid-Atlantic ridge.
Eyjafjallajokull can be best described as the land of ice and fire, which last erupted on 14th April 2010. Luckily, the melted ice did not cause flooding and swept away in rivers.
Along with being entirely safe, Eyjafjallajokull also offers an amazing view of the Northern Lights and mighty glaciers. In addition, you can visit Skogafoss Waterfall and Thorsmork Valley to capture scenic views.
21. Paektu Mountain, China- Volcano with a Crater Lake
Paektu, or Baektu Mountain, is a volcanic peak on the China-Korea border with hot springs and gassy vents. The beautiful crater lake resides within the mountain’s caldera, which was formed by 946 eruptions releasing 100 km of tephra. Paektu is considered a sacred volcano by the Manchu people. Moreover, they consider it as their ancestral homeland.
22. Bagana, Papua New Guinea- Most Frequently Erupted
Found on Bougainville Island, Bagana is a 1700-metre-tall volcano with a large lava cone created by accumulating thick andesitic lava flows. In addition, several hot springs are located at the bottom of the cone
Bagana was first studied by scientists in the 1840s, and since then, it has been erupting non-stop. Besides, it continuously emits sulphur dioxide and carries a smoke plume above its summit crater.
23. Mount Nyiragongo, Congo- Creates Fastest Moving Lava
Nyiragongo is considered the most dangerous volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to its lava speed and composition. Being fluid, lava runs like water at a speed of 100km/hr, and low-silica levels contribute even more to its toxicity.
In 1977, the walls of Nyiragongo’s lava lake were cracked, and it was drained within an hour, killing 20,000 people
24. Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa-The Volcano with 3 Cones
The 20,000 feet Mount Kilimanjaro has three peaks (Mawenzi, Shira, and Kibo). The eruptive activity at Shira commenced 2.5 million years ago, and it is now considered extinct. On the other hand, Kibo and Mawenzi are relatively young.
It is believed that Kibo has a chance to erupt again since it comprises gas-emitting fumaroles within the crater. Further, the ash pit here releases a strong smell of sulphur from lava. Tourists can enjoy a swim in the pool of Materuni waterfall or take a dip in Kikuletwa hot springs, all while witnessing beautiful views.
25. Mount Teide, Spain- Third Highest Volcano
Teide is a volcano located in the Canary Islands in Spain with a height of 7,500 metres, making it the third highest in the world.
Teide is a collection of several volcanoes making up the Teide National Park. The dormant volcano is surrounded by deserts with several plant and animal species. Due to increasing seismic activities, it is believed to erupt again.
75% of the famous volcanoes are present at the Pacific Ring of Fire, with Indonesia being the most active in volcanic activity. These famous volcanoes serve as popular tourist attractions by providing fascinating views and offering many activities to make the most of a holiday.
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