Active, dormant, or extinct volcanoes are both beautiful and dangerous. A volcano can really shake things up triggering tsunamis, flash floods, earthquakes, mudflows, and rockfalls. Throughout history, people have experienced the immense devastating power of volcanoes.
A volcano is an ancient term. Romans believed in Vulcan, the god of fire who lived inside the earth beneath the island Hiera. God’s or nature’s creations, erupting onto the surface volcanoes have caused severe damage over the centuries. Sometimes creating beauty from chaos, colouring sunsets, volcanoes never sees to amaze us. Are you eager to learn more? These interesting facts about volcanoes are here to show you their true power!
There are about 1,500 potentially active volcanoes worldwide.
There are 65 volcanoes in the United States and its territories that scientists consider active, including Mount St. Helens.
Most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions do not strike randomly but occur in specific areas, such as along plate boundaries. One such area is the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the Pacific Plate meets many surrounding tectonic plates.
The Pacific Ring of Fire is home to 452 volcanoes, that’s 75% of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes.
More than 80% of the Earth’s surface, above and below sea level is of volcanic origin.
Over geologic time, volcanic eruptions and related processes have directly and indirectly benefited mankind: Volcanic materials ultimately break down and endure to form some of the most fertile soils on Earth.
The internal heat associated with young volcanic systems has been harnessed to produce geothermal energy.
There are a few historic examples of simultaneous eruptions from volcanoes or vents located within about 10km of each other, but it’s very difficult to determine whether one eruption caused the other.
Tungurahua, also called the Black Giant, is one of Ecuador’s most active volcanoes.
Sitting at nearly 11,000 feet, Mount Etna is Europe’s highest active volcano.
Mount Semeru, is the highest volcano on the Indonesian island of Java. It has been in a state of constant eruption since 1967.
Cleveland Volcano, located in the Aleutian Islands southwest of Alaska, released a plume of ash almost 20,000 feet above the North Pacific Ocean.
A bright bolt of lightning crackled within the ash cloud from an eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland in April 2010. Volcanic lightning occurs when roiling ash particles rub against each other and become electrically charged. The ash from the volcano disrupted air traffic in Europe for more than a month.
The island nation was created by volcanic activity and today has 35 active volcanoes, which provide the country with plentiful geothermal power.
Cinder cone volcanoes (also called scoria cones) are the most common type of volcano.
Cinder cone volcanoes are fairly small, generally only about 300 feet (91 m) tall and not rising more than 1,200 feet (366 m).
A cinder cone volcano Paricutin appeared in a Mexican cornfield on February 20, 1943. Within a week it was 5 stories tall, and by the end of a year, it had grown to more than 336 meters tall. It ended growing in 1952, at a height of 424 meters.
Stratovolcanoes are also called composite volcanoes because they are built of layers of an alternating lava flow, ash and blocks of stone that hasn’t melted. They are larger than cinder cones, rising to 8,000 feet (2,438 m).
Mount St. Helens, in Washington state, is a stratovolcano that erupted on May 18, 1980. Approximately 230 square miles (596 km2) of the forest were completely obliterated and 57 people were killed. Over the course of the day, winds blew 520 million tons of ash eastward across the United States and caused complete darkness in Spokane, Washington, 250 miles (402 km).
Shield volcanoes are huge, gently sloping volcanoes built of very thin lava spreading out in all directions from a central vent.
The Hawaiian shield volcanoes are the largest mountains on Earth. The total height of Mauna Kea, below and above sea level, is 33,500 feet (10,210 m), making it taller than even Mount Everest.
The A.D. 79 eruption, which buried Pompeii, made Vesuvius famous, but another eruption in 1631 killed about 3,000 people.
1669 In Sicily, Mount Etna sent a river of lava flooding through Catania killing around 20,000 people there and in the surrounding region.
The biggest volcanic eruption ever recorded by humans was the explosion of Mount Tambora on Sumbawa Island, Indonesia, in 1815.
Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, one of the most active on Earth, has been erupting continuously for more than 29 years, beginning on the 3rd of January, 1983.
In 1991, after 600 years of dormancy, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines rumbled for days. The cataclysmic ejected more than 1 cubic mile (5 m3) of material and buried a U.S. airbase 15 miles away. The gas and other particles spewed high into the atmosphere reduced global temperatures by about 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius) during the following year.
The largest volcanic blast of the 20th century was the eruption of Novarupta one of a chain of volcanoes on the Alaska Peninsula, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire in 1912. It was a 6 (out of a possible 8) on the Volcanic Explosivity Index.
Geologists measure volcano eruptions using the Volcano Explosivity Index, which measures the amount of material released.
The deepest active submarine eruption seen to date is of the volcano West Mata, which lies in the Lau Basin near the islands of Fiji in the south-western Pacific. It was detected in 2008 and occurred at a depth of 3,900 feet.
About 500 million people live close to active volcanoes.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about volcanoes that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!