Ten Most Dangerous Volcanoes on the Globe

The recent eruption of Eyjafjallajokull, an Icelandic volcano whose name only a few dare to pronounce, made people realize once again how powerful the nature is and how destructive it might be. During six days of the volcano’s activity the air travel plunged into chaos, airlines lost almost $2bn and tens of thousands of travellers got stuck at the airports. Still, it’s nothing compared to the calamities eruptions may cause, wiping out cities and claiming thousands of lives.


Check out the world’s ten most destructive volcanoes: 


1. Sakura-jima. Japan.

Sakurajima. By KimonBerlin
Sakurajima. By KimonBerlin

Since 1955 Sakurajima the stratovolcano in Kyūshū, Japan, often called the Vesuvius of the east, has been erupting almost constantly. Due to its location in a densely populated area, the volcano is considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous. The city of Kagoshima is inhabited by almost 700,000 residents and lies just a few kilometres from the mount. The city has even built special shelters where people can take refuge from falling debris. The volcano’s last eruption took place in March 2009, sending debris up to 2 km away.


2. Etna. Italy.

Etna. By Richard Carter
Etna. By Richard Carter

Mount Etna is Europe’s most active and tallest (3,300 m /10,900 ft) volcano and its potential for destruction is huge. Etna’s constant state of activity is a serious threat to people living in the villages and towns of Sicily. Its most dangerous eruption occurred in 1669, when lava destroyed many villages around the volcano’s base and “swallowed” part of Catania, an ancient town on the east cost of Sicily. In 1992 two streams of lava threatened Zafferana, a municipality inhabited by around 8,000 people.

Etna. By jmreymond
Smoking Etna. By jmreymond


3. Kilauea. Hawaii. The USA. 

At the summit of Kilauea Volcano. By NDomer73
At the summit of Kilauea Volcano. By NDomer73

Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano located on the Big Island of Hawaii, for many years has been considered fairly gentle, as relatively few people have been killed following its explosions. Recently, however, the scientists revealed Kilauea’s deadly face. Apparently, the volcano has an extensive layer of ash and rock called tephra that can be blasted high enough to be a hazard to passenger airplanes. The golf ball-size rocks can be thrown 17 kilometres (11 miles) out. The last time tephra erupted was between 500 and 200 years ago.

Kilauea lava. By slworking2
Kilauea’s lava. By slworking2


 4. Cotopaxi. Ecuador.

Cotopaxi. By Malcolm Surgenor
Cotopaxi. By Malcolm Surgenor

Cotopaxi, one of the tallest active volcanoes in the world, reaching a height of 5,897 m (19,347 ft), is a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, a chain of volcanoes around the Pacific plate. Since 1783 the mount has erupted more than 50 times, posing a serious threat to the nearby cities and villages. Quito, the capital of Ecuador with around 1 million inhabitants, is located 60 km south and Latacunga, a historical town that has already been destroyed four times by earthquakes is 25 km northeast.


5. Vesuvius. Italy.

Mt. Vesuvius. By Alexandra Svatikova
Vesuvius. By Alexandra Svatikova

The legendary Mount Vesuvius sitting on the beautiful coast of the Bay of Naples in Italy has already proven that its destructive capabilities are enormous. In AD 79 a huge explosion wiped out the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, killing up to 25,000 people. Vesuvius is ultra dangerous not only because there are 3 million people living nearby, but also due to the fact that its quiescence period has already been very long. Apparently, the longer the quiescence period, the stronger and more explosive the renewal of Vesuvius’ activity will probably be. In the past the mount’s eruptions were so violent that the whole of southern Europe was blanketed by ash.


6. Merapi. Indonesia.

Merapi. By Marc-Andre Jung
Merapi. By Marc-Andre Jung

Called the Mountain of Fire in Indonesian, Merapi is the most dangerous volcano in the country, erupting roughly once a decade. Since the 16th century it has been erupting regularly and causing serious threat to people inhabiting the surrounding areas. The violent mountain is located very close to the city of Yogyakarta, and some villages are situated as high as 1,700 m on the flanks of the volcano. In 2006, around 5,000 people were killed and 200,000 left homeless due to the earthquakes that followed Merapi’s eruption.


Merapi. By Sam at flickr
Merapi. By Sam at flickr


7. Nyiragongo. Congo.

By Radio Okapi
By Radio Okapi

Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira in Congo, Africa, are jointly responsible for 40% of the historical volcanic eruptions on the continent. Apparently, nowhere else on the globe does such a steep-sided stratovolcano contain a lake of such fluid lava like Nyiragongo. In 1977, the lava flowed down the flanks of the mount killing up to 100 people, though some reports point to about several thousand people. In 2002, the volcano erupted again, reaching the city of Goma, where at least 15% buildings were destroyed, leaving 120,000 people homeless and killing around 45 citizens.


8. Popocatepetl.

Popocatepetl. By myprofe
Popocatepetl. By myprofe

Another natural-born killer is Popocatepetl, a glacier-covered volcano situated only 70 km from Mexico City. Rising to around 5,400 (17,800 ft) above sea level, the eruption of “the Smoking Mountain” could be a serious threat not only to the capital city (inhabited by fairly 9 million people) but also to other towns and villages located very close to it. Popocatepetl is one of the most violent volcanoes in the country, having had around 20 huge eruptions since the 16th century. In 2000, tens of thousands of people were evacuated just before the volcano exploded and caused enormous glacial melting.


9. Mount Teide. Spain

Teide. By szeke
Teide. By szeke

The world’s third largest volcano (from its base), Mount Teide, is located on Tenerife, the Canary Islands. Although Teide is currently dormant, further eruptions are possible in the near future, including the risk of pyroclastic flows and surges similar to those that occurred at Merapi or Mount Vesuvius in Italy. Due to Teide’s proximity to several large towns and resorts, the mount was designated one of the Decade Volcanoes by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry, with the implication that it’s currently one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes.


10. Mount Rainier. The USA.

By Travis S.
By Travis S.

The peacefully-looking Mount Rainer is in fact an active volcano that has the potential to devastate virtually all areas surrounding its base. It is located around 87 km southeast of Seattle, a major city on the West Coast of the USA. Despite the fact that the most recent recorded eruption took place at the end of the 19th century, lahars (a type of mudflow or landslide) pose serious risk to many communities that lie atop older lahar deposits. Such mudflows can even reach parts of downtown Seattle and cause tsunami in Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

By Toastercookie
Seattle skyline witn Mt. Rainer. By Toastercookie


The biggest problem with volcanoes is that nobody can say with 100% certainty if and when they are going to blow. Beware then! Each of the smoking cones above could potentially be the next killer, or at least a bad trouble-maker.


  1. vesuvius is the best volcano and it should be number three because if it dosn’t explode soon anough well mabye even australia could be covered in black ash, i’ve red all about vesuvius and watch 5 docementies this volcano has destroed alot.

  2. most of the people arent suficant workers cuz you are ll just talkin bout unimportant stuff insteaf of regular knollage that can help me so get somtin real to talk about

  3. Try Cumbre Vieja. it has the power to send the entire western half of the island crashing into the atlantic ocean. computer simulations indicate that the initial wave may attain a local amplitude (height) in excess of 600 metres (1,969 ft) and an initial peak to peak height that approximates to 2 kilometres (1 mi), and travel at about 1,000 kilometres per hour (621 mph),approximately the speed of a jet aircraft, inundating the African coast in about 1 hour, the southern coast of England in about 3.5 hours, and the eastern seaboard of North America in about 6 hours, by which time the initial wave will have subsided into a succession of smaller ones each about 30 metres (98 ft) to 60 metres (197 ft) high. These may surge to several hundred metres in height and be several kilometres apart while retaining their original speed. The simulations also suggest that the event could inundate up to 25 kilometres (16 mi) inland. This would greatly damage or destroy cities along the entire North American eastern seaboard, and tens of millions would be killed as Boston, New York City, Miami, and many other cities located near the Atlantic coast are leveled.

    Don’t worry about this too much. The volcanic eruption needed to generate this power probably won’t happen within the next 1000-3000 years.

    But then again, it’s just as likely to erupt tomorrow. (runs of the island really fast)

  4. hey tick girl.sup. i live in riverside as well .la seirra .i just want to stuck up my dick up in ur vagina.and i want to feel ur mouth on my dick.go deep inside like a cherry pop

  5. How deadly they are.Which out of the ten is the biggest.Can people see the volcano erupt or they can feel the ground shaking. Can the ten volcano erupt at the day time and the night time.Why do the other states have volcano and IN didn’t.

  6. I think krakatoa and yellostone are the most dangerous. Yellowstone is supervolcano that lies in middle of the north American plate on a hot spot. It has a pool of magma under it 3 times the size on new York city. It can also dump ash on the united states and cause global temps to drop.

  7. Oh please, seiismc activity is also directly related to volcanic activity. Unless this was a volcano from a hot spot, it was caused from the subduction of an oceanic plate. So, stop being so picky ,and how about getting a job as a paralegal speculating every person’s last word. Jesus, get a life.

  8. Yellowstone is the most dangerous because it is an active super-volcano which means a volcano capable of producing a volcanic eruption with ejecta greater than 1,000 cubic kilometers which is nearly a thousands of times larger than most historic volcanic eruptions. Super volcanic eruptions typically cover huge areas with lava and volcanic ash sufficient to threaten the extinction of species and can even be one of the causes to bring end to the world because once this volcano erupts, it causes all other volcanoes to erupt causing massive tectonic activity.

    One of the largest supervolcanoes in the world lying beneath Yellowstone National Park and scientists say it is still active and even the activity is increasing! Though the Yellowstone system, which spans parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, is active and expected to eventually blow its top, scientists think it will erupt any time soon. Supervolcanoes can sleep for centuries or millenniams before producing incredibly massive eruptions that can drop ash across an entire continent.

    Erupting every 6 lac years and it’s already 40 thousand years over, significant activity is mounting beneath the surface, scientists say it can erupt anytime. Back to 640,000 years ago, the area that we know as Yellowstone National Park was the epicenter of a cataclysmic volcanic eruption—an eruption one thousand times larger than Mt. St. Helens. The eruption blasted away mountains, unearthed a vast ocean of lava and spewed hundreds of miles of debris into the atmosphere, burying half of the United States with deadly ash. Largely unknown today, this destructive super volcano is still active, turning the picturesque landscape of Yellowstone into one of the harshest environments on the planet. Due to the volcanic and tectonic nature of the region, the Yellowstone Caldera experiences between 1000 and 2000 measurable earthquakes a year, though most are relatively minor. Brutally cold winters fade into majestic summers, but for the animals that call the park home—including Yellowstone’s great icons: the grey wolf, grizzly bear, buffalo and antelope—this unique and hostile land creates a daily, dramatic battle for survival. Yellowstone captures the essence of this bitter and mercurial environment as it follows the animals that live in the midst of this treasured wilderness. Yellowstone is very unlikely to erupt in the 1,000 yrs, even in the 10,000 yrs! 🙂 :):):):):):):):) 😉 😉

  9. Judging most dangerous volcanoes is difficult. Do you write a list based off which volcanoes if they WERE to erupt would have the highest death toll, or do you write your list based off which volcanoes have the highest probability of killing a decent amount of people within the next 10-30 years.

    If we’re going by most powerful volcanoes, you would likely put all the massive caldera systems (popularized by the media as supervolcanoes) as the likely culprits.

    That being said, they’re highly unlikely to erupt in the next 1000 years, so it’s really nothing to worry about.

    The volcanoes you really have to worry about are the volcanoes that are both powerful & also have a close proximity to human population.

    Were a volcano like Tambora to erupt in modern times, it would be a catastrophe worse than the Tsunami that hit the same area around year 2000 (and killed around 160,000-200,000 people. There are many indonesian volcanoes capable of eruptions as powerful as tambora or Krakatau as well. It’s also important to note that if a volcano had a super large (Vei 6+) eruption within the last 500 years, it’s not likely that it will erupt again for a long time. It takes a while for a volcano to recharge, and even the most active complexes such as Krakatau will likely take at least another 200 years before they can do anything extravagant.

    If a large volcanic complex such as Campi Flegrei (naples), Vesuvius, or Ischia were to blow, that would be a disaster.

    It’s also important to note that there are a lot of understudied volcanoes, or perhaps volcanoes that don’t receive the sensationalist media attention that Yellowstone gets that are a major threat to people who live near them.

  10. Some interesting information in the article – the comments were also interesting. I’m far enough away from most of the volcanoes mentioned that I would not be immediately affected. The one exception is the Yellowstone Caldera. Although I might survive the initial blast (I’m in southern Illinois) the immediate impact on the prices of commodities (food, energy, etc…) would be catastrophic. The US economy would probably collapse and the ensuing panic from the astronomical rise in food & fuel prices would spell certain doom for many. The Yellowstone Caldera is certainly my greatest fear as far as volcanoes go.

  11. Simple answer as said before is that most truly dangerous volcanoes are unknown to the majority of people. To those that think Mt St Helens should be on the list I ask you why? It’s eruptive volume was very small compared to most well known eruptions and those that died in 1980 did so because they underestimated the volcano and the warnings.

  12. I remember there is a documenter film titled “Mega disasters:krakatoa ‘s revenge”. in ancient age, krakatoa ‘s eruption made all of our earth dark for 18 months, it dusts spread through atmostphere, even people in india saw a Green Moon. years after the eruption, this volcano was back from the deep sea and now its named “Anak krakatau” or “child of Krakatoa”. this volcano is still growing bigger and bigger till now.

  13. Just because a volcano is located near a very populated area should not distinguish it as the world’s most dangerous volcano. In fact none of the volcanoes on this list are even remotely close to some of the known Supervolcanoes that can make life on this planet very hard to progress if an eruption by one does occur. The Yellowstone Caldera is one of these Supervolcanoes. There are actually a couple more just like Yellowstone right at the center of California as well as a few big ones in Indonesia like the Lake Toba caldera. Everyone likes to mention Krakatoa as a relevant crazy dangerous volcano that killed a lot of people. Krakatoa actually is only popularized because when it erupted the telegraph was just invented allowing for instantaneous information to travel around the world about it killing so many people and everyone was able be involved with it on a global scale. But only 70 years earlier just a few miles away from Krakatoa, Mount Tambora, an even bigger volcano, erupted and killed almost 80,000 people, more than twice as much as Krakatoa and It also caused widespread famine all over the globe because crops failed for a couple of years. Whats interesting about both of those volcanoes is a yellowstone eruption would by comparison dwarf the eruptions of Krakatoa, Mount Tombora Mt St Helens Mt Vesuvius combined!!! We have more of a chance of being blasted to extinction by a volcano than anything else, even killer asteroids. Almost all of the recognized theorized mass extinction events that has stunted all life on the globe is attributed to some kind of volcanic cataclysm. This list, though very informative about some really cool looking volcanoes, is just plain wrong.

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