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Top 10 World's Most Active Volcanoes

Updated on June 15, 2012

A few months ago, I wrote an article about some of the most famous earthquakes that occurred around the world. This time, I am writing an article about some of the world's most active volcanoes. There have been countless volcanoes that wreaked havoc in the history such as Mt. Vesuvius and are now dead. There are also numerous volcanoes that are active over thousands of years and continue to erupt even to this day. Here is a list of top 10 world's most active volcanoes.

1. Kilauea (Hawaii)

This is termed as the most active volcano. It has been constantly erupting since 1983. The volcano is just 1,247 mt (4,090 ft) above sea level and is still growing. It is one of the recent of a series of volcanoes that created the Hawaiian archipelago of islands. About 45 eruptions of this volcano were recorded in the 20th century. The most recent eruption occurred in March 2011.


2. Mt. Etna (Italy)

Mt. Etna is one of the oldest volcano. It has been active for more than 3,500 years. The Greeks considered it as the home of Vulcan, the god of fire. According to their mythology, every eruption was an indication of Vulcan forging weapons for Mars, the god of war. The volcano is situated on the east coast of Sicily, Italy. Apart from being the longest active volcano, it is also the largest active volcano of Europe. It stands 3,329 mt (10,992 ft tall). It is in a constant state of eruption for over three millennia. The volcano is noted for its various styles of eruptions. It is most spectacular when both the flank and summit erupt simultaneously.

3. Piton de la Fournaise

Piton de la Fournaise in French means “Peak of the Furnace”. It is also referred to as “le Volcan” locally. It is situated on the eastern side of Reunion Island and stands 2,631 mt (8,631 ft) tall. This volcano is considered one of the three most active volcanoes in the world. Its summit has two craters and a nested caldera has been created by two eruptions. The volcanic eruptions usually consist of small explosions and lava emissions. There is rarely any ash fall. The volcano is known to have more than 150 eruptions since the seventeenth century. The last explosion was in October 2010.

4. Nyamuragira (D.R. Congo)

This is Africa's most active volcano. The word “Nyamuragira” is derived from the verb Kuragira Inka which means to herd cows. Mt. Nyiragongo is situated in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Virunga National Park. The volcano has erupted over 40 times since 1885. There have been numerous eruptions from the summit as well as the flanks of the volcano. The Nyamuragira volcanoes is a huge tourist attraction in Congo. The last eruption occurred on 2nd January 2010.

5. Santa Maria (Guatemala)

This mountain/volcano is located about 100 km west from Guatemala city and 60 km from the Pacific coast of Guatemala. The volcano is 3,772 mt (12,375 ft) tall. There was a catastrophic explosion in 1902 that created a crater on the volcano's flank. There has been a lava-dome complex called Santiaguito growing from this crater since 1922. There have been numerous volcanic eruptions 1922, the recent one being in March 2011.

6. Mt. Yasur (Vanuatu)

This mountain/volcano is located about 100 km west from Guatemala city and 60 km from the Pacific coast of Guatemala. The volcano is 3,772 mt (12,375 ft) tall. There was a catastrophic explosion in 1902 that created a crater on the volcano's flank. There has been a lava-dome complex called Santiaguito growing from this crater since 1922. There have been numerous volcanic eruptions 1922, the recent one being in March 2011.

7. Stromboli (Italy)

This volcano is a contender for being the most active volcano in the world. It is the northeastern most of the Aeolian islands. It is also the tip of a massive underwater volcano off the north coast of Sicily and west coast of southern Italy. This too is one of the oldest active volcanoes. It has been active for over 2,000 years. The volcanic activity usually consists of mild energetic bursts lasting few seconds, incandescent lava fragments, ash and a lithic blocks for a few hundred meters in height. The last volcanic activity was recorded in April 2011.

8. Arenal (Costa Rica)

Arenal is one among the youngest stratovolcanoes in Costa Rica. It is also one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is said to be a sight seer's dream due to its perfectly symmetric shape. The eruptions from this volcano spew large amounts of lava, ash and gas on a regular basis. The eruptions from this volcano started in 1968 and have been very active till October 2010. Presently, it is a indeterminate sleepy phase. However, no one knows when this inactive phase may end.

9. Mt. Erebus (Antarctica)

Mt. Erebus is situated in western half of Ross Iland and is the southernmost active volcano. It was discovered by Sir James Clark Ross in 1841. The volcano is known for its convecting anorthoclase phonolite lava lake. The eruptions that occur from this volcano are Strombolian in nature.

10. Sakura-Jima (Japan)

This was a former island which is now connected to the mainland of Japan. It is also an active composite volcano. The 1914 eruption caused enough lava to join the island with the Osumi Peninsula. The volcanic activity usually produces large amounts of ash on the surroundings. The earlier eruptions built the white sands highlands in this region. The mountain’s summit is split into three peaks, Kita-dake being the highest (3,665 ft above sea level).

These are some of the world’s most active volcanoes. Do share which other active volcanoes you have heard of.

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      Akhil S Kumar 4 years ago from kerala

      fine by me..LOL

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      Karthik Kashyap 4 years ago from India

      thank you markbennis and addingsense :) And addingsense, I will definitely include the sources.

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      Akhil S Kumar 4 years ago from kerala

      interesting hub..i liked it very much..the pics were great..as a suggestion include the source too

      voted up

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      markbennis 4 years ago

      Awesome images and a captivating hub, I really enjoyed this one, so thanks…

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