Active Volcanoes in the World

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Active Volcanoes in the World

Wondering which are the most active volcanoes in the world today? We put forth the list of them, with reference to general details, like where they are located, when was the last they erupted, etc.

When we talk about the most destructive forces of nature, volcanoes surely deserve a mention in bold. The widespread destruction attributed to them doesn’t need any introduction. A look at the recorded history, and you come across numerous instances wherein large cities have been buried under lava by volcanic eruptions. With hundreds of volcanoes being tagged as ‘active’ today, the threat of this natural disaster is looming over several regions.

What is an Active Volcano?

Geologists classify volcanoes into three distinct groups: extinct, dormant, and active. While extinct volcanoes are the ones which have erupted for thousands of years in the past, but don’t show any activity today, dormant volcanoes are the ones which haven’t shown any activity over a significant period, but the chances of eruption cannot be ruled out. Active volcanoes, on the other hand, are the ones which have been erupting continuously over the last few years, and are expected to continue erupting in the near future. According to the Smithsonian Institute’s Global Volcanism Program, a volcano can be technically defined as ‘active’ if any activity has been recorded in it over the last 10,000 years. Going by this definition, a large number of famous volcanoes on the surface of the planet today fall in this category. Add to this the numerous volcanoes at the ocean floor, and the number swells.

List of Active Volcanoes

Given below are two tables, the first has all volcanoes that have erupted in the last decade, enlisted in it―along with their details, the second has the details of those volcanoes that are located in the United States.

Table I

Name of the Volcano Last Erupted
Akan (Japan) 2006
Ambrym Island (Vanuatu) 2007
Anatahan (Mariana Islands) 2007
Aoba (Vanuatu) 2006
Arenal (Costa Rica) Eruption Continues
Asama (Japan) 2003
Aso (Japan) 2004
Bamus (Papua New Guinea) 2006
Bandai (Japan) 2000
Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Eruption Continues
Barren Island (Indian Ocean) 2008
Batu Tara (Indonesia) 2007
Bezymianny (Russia) 2009
Bromo (Indonesia) 2000
Bulusan (Philippines) 2007
Mount Cameroon (Cameroon) 2000
Canlaon (Philippines) 2006
Chaitén (Chile) 2008
Chikurachki (Russia) 2005
Colima (Mexico) Eruption Continues
Conception (Nicaragua) 2010
Copahue (Argentina and Chile) 2000
Dempo (Indonesia) 2006
Dukono (Indonesia) Eruption Continues
East Epi (Vanuatu) 2004
Ebeko (Russia) 2007
Egoni (Indonesia) 2004
Erta Ale (Ethiopia) 2003
Etna (Italy) 2007
Eyjafjallajokull (Iceland) 2010
Piton de la Fournaise (France) 2010
Fuego (Guatemala) Eruption Continues
Fukutoku-Okanoba (Japan) 2010
Galeras (Colombia) 2008
Gamalama (Indonesia) 2003
Gaua (Vanuatu) 2009
Guagua Pichincha (Ecuador) 2006
Hachijo-Jima, Izu Islands (Japan) 2002
Heard Island (Australia) 2006
Hekla (Iceland) 2000
Hokkaido (Japan) 2006
Ijen (Indonesia) 2001
Kaba (Indonesia) 2000
Mount Karangetang (Indonesia) 2007
Karthala (Indian Ocean) 2007
Karymsky (Russia) Eruption Continues
Kavachi Seamount (Solomon Islands) 2004
Kelut (Indonesia) 2006
Kikai (Japan) 2004
Kirishima (Japan) 2010
Kliuchevskoi (Russia) 2009
Komagatake (Japan) 2000
Krakatau (Indonesia) 2001
Langila (New Britain) 2007
Lamongan (Indonesia) 2003
Lascar (Chile) 2007
Leroboleng (Indonesia) 2003
Mount Lewotobi (Indonesia) 2003
Llaima (Chile) 2008
Lokon (Indonesia) 2003
Lopevi (Vanuatu) 2007
Manam (Papua New Guinea) Eruption Continues
Maroa (New Zealand) 2001
Masaya (Nicaragua) Eruption Continues
Mayon (Philippines) 2009
Merapi (Indonesia) 2007
Nevado Del Huila (Colombia) 2007
Nyamuragira (Congo) 2010
Nyiragongo (Congo) 2003
Ol Doinya Lengai (Tanzania) 2006
Oyama, Miyake-jima (Japan) 2006
Pacaya (Guatemala) 2007
Pagan (Mariana Islands) 2006
Pago (Papua New Guinea) 2004
Papandayan (Indonesia) 2002
Poas (Costa Rica) 2006
Popocatepetl (Mexico) 2007
Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) 2008
Raoul Island (New Zealand) 2006
Reventador (Ecuador) 2007
Ritter Island (Papua New Guinea) 2006
Rotorua (New Zealand) 2001
Ruapehu (New Zealand) 2006
Sakura-Jima (Japan) Eruption Continues
San Cristobal (Nicaragua) 2006
San Miguel (El Salvador) 2006
Sangay (Ecuador) Eruption Continues
Santa Ana (El Salvador) 2006
Santa Maria (Guatemala) Eruption Continues
Semeru (Indonesia) Eruption Continues
Shiveluch (Russia) Eruption Continues
Slamet (Indonesia) 2007
Soputan (Indonesia) 2006
Soufriere Hills (West Indies) Eruption Continues
Stromboli (Italy) Eruption Continues
Sulu Range (Papua New Guinea) 2006
Suwanose-Jima Ryukyu Islands (Japan) Eruption Continues
Tavurvur (Papua New Guinea) 2000
Taal (Philippines) 2006
Talang (Indonesia) 2007
Telica (Nicaragua) 2007
Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) 2006
Tungurahua (Ecuador) Eruption Continues
Turrialba (Costa Rica 2010
Ubinas (Peru) 2007
Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) 2007
Usu (Japan) 2000
Villarrica (Chile) 2009
White Island (New Zealand) 2007
Yasur (Vanuatu) 2004

Table II

Name of the Volcano Last Erupted
Atka 2006
Augustine 2006
Chuginadak 2005
Cleveland 2008
Fourpeaked 2006
Mount Kilauea Eruption Continues
Mount St. Helens Eruption Continues
Mauna Loa 2003
Redoubt 2009
Shishaldin 2000
South Sister 2001
Veniaminof 2006

With no consensus whatsoever, it is difficult to determine which volcano should be included in the list of active volcanoes, and which one should be excluded from it. If the criteria is changed to include all those volcanoes that have erupted at least once in the last 10,000 years, compiling the list would be next to impossible. One has to also take into consideration the fact that dormant volcanoes may not have had any activity in the recent past, but that doesn’t mean their chances of becoming active are none.

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