More than 278,000 people have died in volcanic eruptions since the 1600s, with five eruptions causing 58 percent of the recorded fatalities, according to the Global Volcano Model Network. When assessing which volcanoes are the most dangerous in the world several factors come into play. These factors include population density surrounding active volcanoes, eruption history and types of magma during eruptions.
The most affected regions where volcanic eruptions can be deadly include the USA, Indonesia, the Philippines and parts of South America and Europe.
The infamous Yellowstone supervolcano will not be on the list as it last erupted 664,000 years ago.
However, it is worth mentioning that if an eruption did occur it would be thousands of times more powerful than a regular volcano and could result in changes felt across the globe.
And scientists still consider it worth monitoring constantly.
Three eruptions at Yellowstone appear to have occurred on a 600,000 to 700,000 year cycle starting 2.1 million years ago, meaning it’s overdue for an eruption.
Some of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes (in no particular order)
Mount St Helens
Mount St Helens is the youngest and most active of the cascade volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest.
St Helens, in southwestern Washington, is probably the most famous US volcano outside Kilauea and began forming 40,000 years ago, along with the others in the range, based on the subduction of the Juan de Fuca plate.
In 1647 the volcano went quiet for the next 150 years, but in 1800 it began another eruptive cycle that lasted 57 years before, yet again, going quiet.
In 1980, it roared violently back to life again and although Mount St Helens remains quiet for now, it’s still active.
Mount Vesuvius is in Italy with six million people living in the vicinity of the volcano.
In 79 CE Vesuvius buried the city of Pompeii and over the last 17,000 years, the volcano has gone through eight major explosive eruptions that were followed by large pyroclastic flows, according to the Smithsonian Institute/USGS Global Volcanic Program database.
Vesuvius’ last known eruption occurred in 1944, but is still closely monitored and the Italian government has multiple plans prepared for a possible eruption.
Mount Agung is in Indonesia in a region with a population of about four million.
The volcano is continuously erupting and had its last major eruption in 1963, which was one of the most devastating eruptions in the country’s history.
The 1963 eruption lasted 11 months, producing dangerous ash fall and pyroclastic flows that led to more than 1,000 deaths.
Ash plumes above the volcano have been continuously observed throughout 2018, following an eruption in November 2017.
- Mount Rainier – USA
- Novarupta Volcano – Alaska, USA
- Mount Pinatubo – Philippines
- Mount Fuji – Japan
- Mount Merapi – Indonesia