Volcanic islands are absolutely fascinating! But which volcanic islands are the most interesting and why? Read on to find out…
- The Most Interesting Volcanic Islands
- 1. Nishinoshima Island, Tokyo- The Continuously Growing Volcanic Island
- 2. Milos Island, Greece- Where Eruptions Yield Rich Minerals
- 3. Barren Island, India- Single Active Volcanic Island in South Asia
- 4. Sumatra Island, Indonesia- Largest of All Volcanic Islands
- 5. Ambrym Island, Vanuatu- Famous For its Bubbling Lava Lakes
- 6. Stromboli Island, Italy- Well-Known For its Nighttime Eruptions
- 7. Surtsey Island, Iceland- The Prohibited Volcanic Island
- 8. Gran Canaria Island, Spain- Famous for its Beaches
- 9. Fogo Island, Canada – A Hub of Cod Fish
- 10. Bora Bora Island, French Polynesia- Volcanic Island with Turquoise Lagoon
The Most Interesting Volcanic Islands
Did you know how volcanic islands are formed? Volcanic Islands, also termed Oceanic Islands, are constructed due to eruptions occurring on the seafloor near tectonic plates. The two plates pull away to form an undersea ridge where layers of lava build, eventually breaking the water’s surface.
As the top of the volcano emerges above sea level, an island is formed with different volcano types. The climate of these oceanic islands differs, depending upon their location on Earth. For example, Iceland is located in the North Atlantic Ocean; thus, it experiences a cold climate. This conflicts with equatorial islands like Borneo, which encounters tropical weather.
However, all these islands aim to protect ocean resources and preserve marine biodiversity. In this article, we have assembled unusual facts about different volcanic islands, so continue reading to unveil the miracles of nature!
1. Nishinoshima Island, Tokyo- The Continuously Growing Volcanic Island
Nishinoshima (Japanese term for “Western Island”) is located 940 kilometers South of Tokyo in Ogasawara Arc and is the second largest of the Oki Islands group. It is a submerged part of a caldera in the Northern Volcano Island of Japan.
The quiet green dot, which remained dormant for thousands of years, gained attention after erupting in April 1973, creating a new section of the Island. Surprisingly, it did not stop growing and more explosions occurred in 2013, engulfing the previously formed unit. Further eruptions in 2016, 2017, and 2018-2022 extended the island to 4.1 km2. Recently, ash plumes rose to 1.9 km above the crater from 5th-11th April 2023.
The island is best suited for green panthers due to its unique volcanic scenery and calm waters. Follow the well-marked hiking track from Matengai Cliff to Tsūtenkyō Arch and witness the horses grazing commodious grasslands. Takuhi Shrine, dedicated to the goddess of safe sea voyages, is also a must-see spot for visitors for its fascinating flora and fauna.
2. Milos Island, Greece- Where Eruptions Yield Rich Minerals
This horseshoe-sculptured Greek volcanic island is situated in the Aegean Sea at the southern part of the Cyclades Island Complex. Being oceanic in origin, Milos boasts a splendid colorful landscape with more than 40 exotic beaches on the coastline.
Volcanism on Milos has created a distinctive geology making it a hub of rare mineral resources. The mineral wealth includes bentonite and perlite, 95% of which is exported due to its numerous industrial uses. You can visit the Milos mining museum, which displays the island’s ten thousand years of mining history and potrays the economy of the Island.
Among other volcanic islands, Milos is like a paradise on Earth for beach lovers and known as the “Island of Colour”. The beautiful Sarakiniko beach’s unique white rock formations can make you feel like you stepped on the Moon. You can discover the waterside bars and sensational restaurants with private boat tours, or visit the traditional Klima village filled with colorful houses carved within rocks.
3. Barren Island, India- Single Active Volcanic Island in South Asia
Barren Island, located east of India in the Andaman Islands, is the single confirmed active volcano in the Indian subcontinent. The first recorded eruption occurred here in 1787, while the most recent occurred between 2005-2020, bursting the sky with light.
As the name implies, its barren location is uninhabited by humans though it has a small populace of goats, rodents, and birds. Being a part of the Indian Union Territory of Andaman, it lies under a restricted zone, and a special permit is required from the forest department to visit here during day hours.
You can charter a boat from Port Blair or Havelock and enjoy a spectacular view from the sea. Since the volcanic eruptions are unpredictable here, visitors are restricted from visiting the shore. The coral reefs, coupled with crystal waters, surround the island, which brings visual joy to tourists.
Sports fishing activities, scuba diving, and snorkeling are great ways to make your trip memorable and remember to click Instagram-worthy photos here.
4. Sumatra Island, Indonesia- Largest of All Volcanic Islands
The center of flaming volcanoes ranks first in the list of enormous volcanic islands. Located in the westernmost region of Sunda Islands, Sumatra is the ultimate vibrant beauty known for its tropical terrain. The island was known as the “Land of Gold” in historical times because of the gold deposits in its highlands.
Volcanic explosions furnished this area with fertile land making it the largest manufacturer of Indonesian coffee. The picturesque landscape of Sumatra makes it popular among tourists. As it sits close to the equator, the weather remains hot and humid; however, the best months to visit here are April to October
From world-class surfing in Aceh to the ancient kingdoms of Melayu, Sumatra is the jack of all trades. Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake surrounded by cliffs and jungles where you can enjoy Berastagi passion fruit. Moreover, hike to the top of Gunung Sibayak ( dormant volcano) through well-built trails and observe the soothing hot springs with medicinal properties.
5. Ambrym Island, Vanuatu- Famous For its Bubbling Lava Lakes
This large basaltic volcanic island is situated in Malampa Province in Vanuatu’s archipelago. It is widely known for its active vents, Mount Marum and Mount Benbow, which release lava flows and lakes. The mesmerizing lava Lakes here are famous among other volcanic islands, however, morning hours are best for viewing them.
You can catch a flight here from Port Vila and witness the volcanoes surrounded by ash plains extending up to 10 kilometers in all directions. However, the rest of the island has greenery and jungle-covered mountains.
The Fanla Art Gallery of Ambrym showcases the sculptures and paintings made by local artists. Moreover, if you are interested in culture, don’t forget to see the Rom traditional dance in which mask-wearing men scarily perform different rituals.
The Champagne Beach consists of the cleanest powdery white sands where volcanic gas changes to bubbles, as in fizzy champagne. But remember to stay vigilant as the waves here are quite rough.
6. Stromboli Island, Italy- Well-Known For its Nighttime Eruptions
This glowing island of the Tyrrhenian Sea is beautiful yet deadly and nicknamed the “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean”. Stromboli’s volcano is always on the verge of catastrophic explosions, releasing fluid lava flows toward the sea. If you stand at the peak during night hours without a flashlight, you’ll witness shimmering patches in the dark.
Compared to other volcanic islands, Stromboli is the most visited due to its awe-inspiring sight of eruptions, climate, and beaches. The most convenient way to get here is by catching a ferry from the port of Milazzo.
You can trek to the island’s summit to view lava fireworks or visit the gleaming black sand beaches, including Piscita and Ficogrande. Tourists here experience the boat rides around Sciara del Fuoco, admiring the volcano’s lava spurts while sipping local sweet wine.
One fascinating fact about Stromboli is that they have no cars but only mini trucks, which serve as taxis and help you discover the island’s narrow alleys.
7. Surtsey Island, Iceland- The Prohibited Volcanic Island
Surtsey, a volcanic island that formed from the 1963-1967 eruptions, is located in the Southernmost of Iceland. It was named in 1965 by the government of Iceland after the fire god of Icelandic mythology (Surtur).
The young island offers a new natural laboratory free from human interference, unlike other volcanic islands. Only a few scientists can visit the island allowing natural ecological succession to continue. However, those interested in geology can visit Surtsey Visitor Center in Heimaey, which owns the popular interactive time machine and gives necessary information about the island’s history.
The study of the island began in 1964. Since then, Surtsey has provided valuable data about the colonization of the new land by various plant and animal species. In 2008, UNESCO declared Surtsey a World Heritage Site for its outstanding biodiversity and geological processes.
8. Gran Canaria Island, Spain- Famous for its Beaches
Gran Canaria, also known as Gran Canary Island, is the most fruitful island of the sun-basked Canary Islands, Spain, in the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a lot more to offer in comparison with other volcanic islands, including golden sandy beaches and ravishing waterfalls.
Enjoy a camel ride at Maspalomas Beach with endless dunes, or sunbathe at Gui Gui for secluded relaxation with your loved ones. Other essential beaches include; Puerto Rico Beach, Las Canteras, and Amadores, all celebrated for their exotic waters and volcanic rock pools.
Hike to the center of Gran Canaria by walking up the Roque Nublo and observe the fantastic 360-degree view of the Island, enjoying the pine tree aroma in air simultaneously. Another important sight is Caldera de Bandama, an old volcanic crater overgrown with small plants and trees. Keep your eyes open for the Gran Canarian Giant Lizard, long-eared owl and other unique species residing here.
9. Fogo Island, Canada – A Hub of Cod Fish
Fogo Island, situated 15 kilometers from Newfoundland’s northeast coast, is a world of lush forests with welcoming accommodations like the Fogo Island Inn hotel. Fogo Islanders have made their living by fishing the waters of the North Atlantic and harvesting cod, an iconic part of Newfoundland culture. In fact, the plentiful Cod goods were the reason behind the accommodation of Europeans on the island in the 17th century.
Whale watching from the beach will light up your mood as humpback, minke, and finback jump and play in the water. Another important attraction is iceberg viewing, commonly done in July due to climate conditions. The 10,000-old glacial giants come in every shape and size with exotic colors, leaving the visitors in awe.
You can also visit Tilting, a traditional fishing village famous for the longevity of its Irish culture, to observe well-preserved fishing stages. Set aside extra time to explore the Lion’s Den Hiking Trail, a 4.2-kilometer-long trail with gorgeous panoramas looking out to the Atlantic.
10. Bora Bora Island, French Polynesia- Volcanic Island with Turquoise Lagoon
The Bora Bora Island lies in the Central South Pacific Ocean and is the most popular of Tahiti’s Islands. With its giant turquoise lagoon, the island resembles an artist’s palette of bright blue and green colors.
The volcano of Bora Bora is Mount Otemanu, standing tall in the center of the island with a lower peak called Mount Pahia. It is an extinct volcano with a lush green elevation which provides a breathtaking sight. Natural disasters are infrequent; however, the island poses a threat of hurricanes.
Bora Bora offers tourists a unique gift of Tahitian dark pearls as a reminder of a splendid holiday. These pearls are produced by black-lipped oysters residing in the French Polynesian Islands and offer a wide range of colors.
Jump into the breathtaking coral garden and explore the neon-lit turquoise waters by snorkeling endlessly. Manta rays, Sting rays, and reef sharks are treasures in the Bora Bora lagoon. Undoubtedly, the island ranks as the most beautiful among all the volcanic islands on the planet.
More than 80% of Earth’s surface is volcanic, with over 1500 volcanoes distributed worldwide. Volcanic islands grow and evolve to develop thriving ecosystems by forming fertile soils on Earth. Moreover, the heat associated with eruptions is used to generate geothermal energy, making volcanic islands a critical aspect to benefit humankind.
Apart from their uses, Volcanic islands serve as fantastic holiday destinations and offer various amenities. Scuba diving, mountain climbing, trekking, beautiful beaches, and views of volcanoes and geysers will surely provide a castaway experience.
Don’t hesitate to plan your perfect trip to these volcanic islands and pack your backpack.
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