These days we hardly hear about volcanic eruptions. Even if active ones erupt, it’s never as catastrophic or destructive as the ones that erupted way back in history as we now have means to detect whether a volcano is spewing up or not. That being said, many volcanic eruptions in the past have caused a great deal of devastation and destruction to the surrounding areas, the flora and fauna and human population (if any). Here are 7 such highly dangerous and majorly devastating volcanic eruptions that took place during the course of history:
#1 Huaynaputina (1600)
This stratovolcano; situated in southern Peru; when it erupted back in 1600, sent hot mudflows into the Pacific Ocean! It is the largest volcanic eruption recorded in the South American history! Temperatures fell to the lowest levels in 500 years. Ash and smoke covered an area of 360,000km2. This powerful eruption was triggered by fissures and pyroclastic flows.
#2 Krakatoa (1883)
Located on the Sudan Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia, Krakatoa is a small group of islands with a volcanic mountain. Krakatoa erupted due to major pyroclastic fissures. Its eruption was so powerful that it caused a tsunami that killed 36,000 people. The impact was also felt in Australia where they felt slight tremors during the eruption! The explosion destroyed the island but in the aftermath, it created another smaller volcano called Anak Krakato (“Anak” meaning “child” in Bahasa Indonesia). The volcano still remains somewhat in the middle of the sea with Anak Krakatoa active and spewing away beside it! Tourists often go camping on these volcanic islands!
#3 Santa Maria Eruption (1902)
Santa Maria is a site in southwestern Guatemalan volcanic highlands where one of the largest stratovolcano eruptions in history occurred. It is home to Santiaguito, one of the most active dome complexes in the world. These were formed when Santa Maria fatally erupted back 1902 and they are growing by the minute. The volcano had been dormant for 500 years. Its sudden eruption killed 5000 people and created the Santiaguito dome which is as active as ever!
#4 Novarupta (1912)
Novarupta was formed as a result of an eruption that occurred in 1912 in the Alaskan Peninsula. The eruption was the world’s largest in the 20th century. The eruption resulted in the ejection of 3 cubic miles of magma and ash into the air. 3000 square miles of Alaska was blanketed in ash that was over a foot deep!
#5 Mount Pinatubo (1991)
Mount Pinatubo erupted spectacularly on 15th June 1991, sending a massive cloud of ash 22 miles up into the stratosphere. The effects lingered for an entire year when temperatures fell by a whole degree Fahrenheit! Pinatubo is a complex of lava domes located in NW of Manila city, Luzon Island, Philippines. Prior to the eruption, Pinatubo had been dormant for 400 years.
#6 Mount Vesuvius (79 AD)
Mount Vesuvius is not only the most popular but also one of the most dangerous volcanoes to ever erupt, located in Italy. In 79 AD, after a century-long slumber, the volcano awoke with terrifying power in an eruption that buried several Roman towns like Pompeii and Herculaneum under meters of ash. These towns were completely submerged with a no possible rate for survival as a dangerous, thick and toxic volcanic cloud engulfed them! Most of these have been archeologically excavated now and are thoroughly preserved; still lingering as a painful reminder of Mother Nature’s fury!
#7 Mt. Tambora (1815)
Yes, it all comes back to Indonesia; one of the most volcano-laden archipelagoes. On 10th April 1815, the largest volcanic explosion ever recorded happened. The volcano erupted more than 50 cubic kilometers of magma. The eruption produced global climatic effects and killed more than 100,000 people, directly and indirectly. Global temperatures cooled and the “year without summer” followed.
The days of fatal eruptions are long gone! Oh wait, no not really. They may just be beginning! With many dormant volcanoes waking up and minor eruptions occurring due to tectonic plate movements, there may be much more in store for us in the future.
Featured Image Source: Wikipedia