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Top Ten Famous Volcanoes Kilauea, Hawaii Location: 19.4N, 155.3W Elevation: 4,009 feet (1,222 m) Kīlauea is an active volcano in the Hawaiian Islands , one of five shield volcanoes that together form the Island of Hawai i.

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Kilauea, Hawaii

  • Location: 19.4N, 155.3W
  • Elevation: 4,009 feet (1,222 m)
  • Kīlauea is an active volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, one of five shield volcanoes that together form the Island of Hawaii.
  • In Hawaiian, the word kīlauea means "spewing" or "much spreading", in reference to the mountain's frequent outpouring of lava.
  • kīlauea is presently the most active volcano and one of the most visited active volcanoes on the planet.
  • Kilauea is the youngest of the subaerial volcanoes on the Island of Hawaii.
  • Kilauea lies at the southeast end of the Hawaiian chain.
  • Much of the bulk of Kilauea is below sea level.
  • Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth.

Mount St. Helens, Washington, USA

  • Location: 46.2N, 122.2WElevation: 8,363 feet (2549 m)
  • Mount St. Helens is an active stratovolcano in Skamania County, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.
  • The mountain, part of the Cascade Range, takes its English name from the British diplomat Lord St Helens, who was a friend of George Vancouver, an explorer who made a survey of the area in the late 18th century.
  • Mount St. Helens is a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire that includes over 160 active volcanoes.
  • Mount St. Helens is well known for its ash explosions and pyroclastic flows.
  • Mount St. Helens is most famous for its catastrophic eruption on May 18, 1980. Fifty-seven people were killed; and 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways and 185 miles (300 km) of highway were destroyed.
  • Mount St. Helens is geologically young compared to the other major Cascade volcanoes.
  • In 1982, President Ronald Reagan and the U.S. Congress established the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, a 110,000-acre (445-km²) area around the mountain and within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.[22]

Mount Vesuvius, Italy

  • Location: 40.8N, 14.4EElevation: 4,200 feet (1,281 m)
  • Mount Vesuvius (Italian: Monte Vesuvio, Latin: Mons Vesuvius) is a volcano east of Naples, Italy.
  • Mount Vesuvius was regarded by the Greeks and Romans as being sacred to the hero and demigod Hercules/Heracles, and the town of Herculaneum, built at its base, was named after him.
  • Mount Vesuvius is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years, although it is not currently erupting.
  • Mount Vesuvius is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 3,000,000 people now living close to it and its tendency towards explosive eruptions.
  • Mount Vesuvius was formed as a result of the collision of two tectonic plates, the African and the Eurasian.
  • Mount Vesuvius is one of several which form the Campanian volcanic arc.
  • By the 1st century, Pompeii was only one of a number of towns located around the base of Mount Vesuvius.

Fuji, Honshu, Japan

  • Location: 35.4N, 138.7EElevation: 3,776 m
  • Japanese  Fuji-san, also called  Fujiyama , or  Fuji No Yama highest mountain in Japan.
  • Fuji-san mountain's name, of Ainu origin, means “everlasting life.”
  • Mount Fuji is the archetype of the stratovolcano and probably rivals Vesuvius for the best-know volcano.
  • Fuji rises about 3,500 m above the surrounding plain.
  • Fuji has erupted at least 16 times since 781 AD.
  • The conical form of Fuji-san, Japan's highest and most noted volcano, belies its complex origin.
  • The most recent eruption was in 1707-1708 from a vent on the southeast side of the cone.

Merapi, Java, Indonesia

  • Location: 7.5S, 110.4EElevation: 9,548 feet (2,911 m)
  • Gunung Merapi in Indonesian language, is a conical volcano in Central Java, Indonesia.
  • Merapi’s name means Mountain of Fire.
  • Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia with 68 historic eruption since 1548.
  • Several of its eruptions have caused fatalities. It was erupting from 1992 to 2002, and a particularly large explosion killed 43 people in 1994.
  • Merapi began erupting again in 2006, and scientists believe a large eruption is imminent.
  • In light of the hazards Merapi poses to populated areas, it has been designated a Decade Volcano.
  • Merapi continues to hold particular significance for the Javanese: it is one of four places where officials from the royal palaces of Java's Yogyakarta and Solo make annual offerings to placate the ancient Javanese spirits.

Mt. Pelee, West Indies

  • Location: 14.8N, 61.1WElevation: 4,583 feet (1,397 m)
  • Mount Pelée (French: Montagne Pelée, "Bald Mountain") is an active volcano on the northern tip of the FrenchMartinique in the Caribbean.
  • Mount Pelée is a stratovolcano, its volcanic cone composed of layers of volcanic ash and hardened lava.
  • Mount Pelée is part of the Lesser Antilles volcanic arc.
  • Though it was previously dormant , Mount Pelée began to erupt on April 25, 1902.
  • Mount Pelée 1902 eruption is considered the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century . The eruption caused about 26,000 to 36,000 casualties and destroyed Saint-Pierre.
  • During the catastrophic May 8, 1902 Mount Pelée ‘s eruption, only 2 individuals survived out of ~28,000 people in Saint-Pierre.
  • As of the year 2006, Mount Pelée with its long history of extreme violence quietly rests above Saint Pierre and the beautiful northern Martinique countryside.

Arenal, Costa Rica

  • Location: 10.5N, 84.7EElevation: 5,435 feet (1,657 feet)
  • The Arenal Volcano, in SpanishVolcán Arenal, is an active andesiticstratovolcano in north-western Costa Rica.
  • Recognised as a volcano since the 19th century, it was known by foreign investigators as "Volcan Costa Rica, Rio Frio", "Canastos" Volcano and "Cerro de los Guatusos".
  • Arenal Volcano erupted in July 29, 1968 after approximately 400 years of dormancy. The eruption wiped out the town of Arenal and killed 87 people. It has been in continuous eruption since then.
  • Arenal rises 1657 metres above sea level and overlooks Lake Arenal; both are part of Arenal Volcano National Park.
  • The last major eruption of Arenal occurred on August 23, 2000.
  • Most of the time, the volcano is surrounded by clouds near the tip, and it is touted as good luck to see the whole volcano without clouds.
  • The volcano heats several hot springs nearby, including Tabacon, a popular tourist destination.

Stromboli, Italy

  • Location: 38.8 N, 15.2 EElevation: 2,900 feet (900 m)
  • Stromboli is a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily, containing one of the active volcanos in Italy.
  • Stromboli’s name is a corruption of the ancient Greek name Στρογγυλή (Stroŋgule) which was given to it because of its round swelling form.
  • Stromboli has three active craters at the peak.
  • A significant geological feature of Stromboli is the Sciara del Fuoco ("Stream of fire"),a big horseshoe-shaped depression generated in the last 13,000 years by several collapses on the north western side of the cone.
  • Stromboli is remarkable because of the length of time for which it has been in almost continuous eruption. For at least the last 2,000 years, the same pattern of eruption has been maintained, in which explosions occur at the summit craters with mild to moderate eruptions of incandescent volcanic bombs at intervals ranging from minutes to hours.
  • Stromboli's activity is almost exclusively explosive, but lava flows do occasionally occur - an effusive eruption in 2002 was its first in 17 years.
  • Stromboli is also the name of the puppeteer who kidnaps pinocchio and makes him perform as a marionette in his puppet shows, as seen in the Classic Walt Disney film "Pinocchio" from 1940.

Krakatau, Sundra

  • Krakatoa (Indonesian name: Krakatau, Portuguese name: Krakatao) is a volcanic island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia.
  • Krakatau name is used for the island group, the main island (also called Rakata), and the volcano as a whole.
  • Krakatau best known eruption culminated in a series of massive explosions on August 26-27, 1883.
  • Krakatau‘s 1883 eruption ejected more than 25 cubic kilometres of rock, ash, and pumice, and generated the loudest sound ever historically reported — the cataclysmic explosion was distinctly heard as far away as Australia.
  • During Krakatau 1883 eruption, atmospheric shock waves reverberated around the world seven times and were detectable for five days.
  • During Krakatau 1883 eruption, 165 villages and towns were destroyed and 132 seriously damaged, at least 36,417 (official toll) people died, and many thousands were injured by the eruption, mostly in the tsunamis which followed the explosion.
  • New eruptions at Krakatau since 1927 have built a new island, called Anak Krakatau (child of Krakatoa).

Etna, ItalyLocation: 37.73N, 15.00EElevation: 10,991 feet (3,350 m)

  • Mount Etna is an active volcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania.
  • Mount Etna (also known as Mongibeddu in Sicilian and Mongibello in Italian, a combination of Latin mont- and Arabic jebel, both meaning mountain).
  • Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe.
  • Mount Etna covers an area of 1190 km² (460 square miles) with a basal circumference of 140 km. This makes it nearly three times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius.
  • Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of eruption.
  • Mount Etna fertile volcanic soils support extensive agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain and the broad Plain of Catania to the south.
  • Due to its history of recent activity and nearby population, Mount Etna has been designated a Decade Volcano by the United Nations.

The word "volcano" comes from the little island of Vulcano in the Mediterranean Sea off Sicily. Centuries ago, the people living in this area believed that Vulcano was the chimney of the forge of Vulcan -- the blacksmith of the Roman gods. They thought that the hot lava fragments and clouds of dust erupting form Vulcano came from Vulcan's forge as he beat out thunderbolts for Jupiter, king of the gods, and weapons for Mars, the god of war. In Polynesia the people attributed eruptive activity to the beautiful but wrathful Pele, Goddess of Volcanoes, whenever she was angry or spiteful. Today we know that volcanic eruptions are not super-natural but can be studied and interpreted by scientists.

Volcano1. Magma chamber2. Country rock3. Conduit (pipe)4. Base5. Sill6. Branch pipe7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15. Ash cloud


A volcano is an opening (or rupture) in the Earth's surface or crust, which allows hot, molten rock, ash, and gases to escape from deep below the surface. Volcanic activity involving the extrusion of rock tends to form mountains or features like mountains over a period of time.

Volcanoes are generally found where two to three tectonic platespull apart or are coming together. A mid-oceanic ridge, like the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, has examples of volcanoes caused by "divergent tectonic plates" pulling apart; the Pacific Ring of Fire has examples of volcanoes caused by "convergent tectonic plates" coming together. By contrast, volcanoes are usually not created where two tectonic plates slide past one another (like the San Andreas fault). Volcanoes can also form where there is stretching of the Earth's crust and where the crust grows thin (called "non-hotspot intraplate volcanism"), such as in the African Rift Valley or the European Rhine Graben with its Eifel volcanoes).

Finally, volcanoes can be caused by "mantle plumes," so-called "hotspots;" these hotspots can occur far from plate boundaries, such as the Hawaiian Islands. Interestingly, hotspot volcanoes are also found elsewhere in the solar system, especially on rocky planets and moons.


Pacific Ring of Fire

The Pacific Ring of Fire is a zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions encircling the basin of the Pacific Ocean. It is sometimes called the circum-Pacific belt or the circum-Pacific seismic belt.

The "Ring of Fire" is an arc stretching from New Zealand, along the eastern edge of Asia, north across the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, and south along the coast of North and South America. It is composed over 75% of the world's active and dormant volcanoes.

Ring of Fire is located at the borders of the Pacific Plate and other major tectonic plates.

Around the Ring of Fire, the Pacific Plate is colliding with and sliding underneath other plates. This process is known as subduction and the volcanically and seismically active area nearby is known as a subduction zone. There is a tremendous amount of energy created by these plates and they easily melt rock into magma, which rises to the surface as lava and forms volcanoes.



According to the new, generally accepted "plate-tectonics" theory, scientists believe that the Earth's surface is broken into a number of shifting slabs or plates, which average about 50 miles in thickness. These plates move relative to one another above a hotter, deeper, more mobile zone at average rates as great as a few inches per year.

Most of the world's active volcanoes are located along or near the boundaries between shifting plates and are called "plate-boundary" volcanoes. However, some active volcanoes are not associated with plate boundaries, and many of these so-called "intra-plate" volcanoes form roughly linear chains in the interior of some oceanic plates.

The Hawaiian Islands provide perhaps the best example of an "intra-plate" volcanic chain, developed by the northwest-moving Pacific Plate passing over an inferred "hot spot" that initiates the magma-generation and volcano-formation process.

The peripheral areas of the Pacific Ocean Basin, containing the boundaries of several plates are dotted by many active volcanoes that form the so-called "Ring of Fire".