35 Destructive and Terrifying Facts about Volcanoes

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1 Krakatoa eruption

Krakatoa eruption

The 1883 Eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia was so loud that it was heard over 3000 miles away, which is the equivalent of hearing a sound from Ireland while you are in Boston. It ruptured the eardrums of sailors over 40 miles away and killed over 36,000 people directly from the eruptions and subsequent tsunamis.

2. Around 70,000 years ago the volcano Toba in Indonesia erupted and covered the earth with so much ash that the sun was dimmed for 6 years. The population of early humans neared extinction and some studies indicate there were as few as 40 breeding pairs left.

3. Paricutín is a volcano that emerged suddenly in 1943 from a farmer’s land in Mexico in a matter of a day. Now peaking at 9200 feet, it’s still the first ever volcano whose birth has been witnessed by human eyes.

4. Lava is between 100,000 to 1,100,000 times as viscous as water. Falling into it would be like hitting something solid, rather than a liquid.

5. There is a volcano in Indonesia named Kawah Ijen volcano erupts with blue lava. Local men trek up the mountain daily to mine its sulfur – they carry loads of 180-200 pounds, but the sulfur only sells for only 2.5 cents/pound, so many men make the climb twice a day.

6 Huaynaputina


In 1600, volcanic eruption in Peru from Huaynaputina created volcanic winter worldwide and this winter killed approximately 2 million people in Russia.

7. There is no reason to expect a supervolcanic eruption at Yellowstone in the near future. Such events are ‘neither regular nor predictable.’

8. When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, the blast was heard in British Columbia, Montana, Idaho, and California. However, the blast was not heard in Portland, Oregon which is located only 50 miles away from the eruption.

9. Concerns are increasing that Campi Flegrei, a “supervolcano” very close to the Italian city of Naples could erupt again for the first time since 1538. Previous eruptions have triggered volcanic winters globally, causing widespread crop failures and resulting in famines.

10. The deadliest volcanic eruption in recorded history is the 1783 eruption of the Laki Volcano in Iceland. It killed 25% of the Icelandic population, at least 23,000 people in Britain, more deaths in Europe, freak weather for a year, and may have caused a famine in Egypt which killed 1/6th of the Egypt’s population.

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11 Nevado del Ruiz

Nevado del Ruiz

In 1985, the Nevado del Ruiz Volcano in Colombia, which was covered in glaciers erupted, instantly melting its glaciers. Two hours later, a 100 feet high wave of rock and water traveling 39 feet per second leveled an entire nearby village, killing 20,000 out of its 29,000 residents.

12. Suicide by the volcano is an actual thing. More than 2000 people have committed suicide by leaping into the crater of Mount Mihara in Japan. Authorities eventually erected a fence to curb the number of suicides.

13. The largest volcano on Earth is the Tamu Massif volcano located at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. It has a surface area the same as New Mexico making it one of the largest volcanoes in the Solar System.

14. You can snowboard down the active Cerro Negro volcano in Nicaragua on its volcanic ash.

15. There is a volcano in Arizona that bears the name “Sh*t Pot Crater,” so named because it resembles a “toilet catastrophe.”

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16 Mount Pelee eruption

Mount Pelee eruption

About 30,000 people were killed during the 1902 Mount Pelee eruption in one of the Caribbean Islands because its governor refused to evacuate people until after Election Day. The right-wing government was worried about a possible socialist victory and refused to let anyone leave until after the election on May 11th. It erupted on May 8th.

17. The magma chamber of Thrihnukagigur Volcano in Iceland is the only magma chamber in the world to have ever been explored by humans.

18. There is a rare type of lava called Natrocarbonatite, which erupts from the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano in Tanzania. It’s so cold it glows only at night. It’s black, but within hours turns white.

19. The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonseia led to an unreasonably cool summer in 1816, which led to an 800% rise in oat prices, which led a German inventor to create the predecessor to what we now call a bicycle.

20. When Mount Etna erupted in 1669, the city of Catania was largely protected from the lava flows by the city walls, which diverted them into the port.

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21 Mount Pinatubo eruption

Mount Pinatubo eruption

The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the 2nd largest eruption of the 20th century, injected large amounts of aerosols and dust into the stratosphere, reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface by 10%. It ultimately lowered temperatures worldwide by 0.7° F.

22. The heat from the Vesuvius eruption in 79 A.D. was so intense that the skulls of those caught in it literally exploded by the pressure of vaporizing brain tissue and boiling blood.

23. Eyjafjallajökull, the Icelandic volcano that erupted in 2010, is carbon neutral due to its disruption of air travel in Europe.

24. The peak of Mount Fuji is a privately owned land and the whole mountain used to be owned by a person named Ieyasu Tokugawa.

25. Continuously erupting volcanoes are referred to as Strombolian eruptions. Mount Stromboli itself has been erupting continuously for over 2,000 years.

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