Currently, there are around 1,500 possibly active volcanoes spread around the world. Of these, around a third have erupted – causing smoke, lava, and ash to explode from the surface and around towns and cities.
Check the deadliest volcanic eruptions in history that humankind has ever seen in the article below. These volcanic eruptions have claimed the maximum number of lives and damaged the leading property of the people. These are the top 10 deadliest volcano eruptions in history ever known.
10. Vesuvius, Italy 79 A.D.
Total: 3,500 Deaths
is one of the deadliest volcano eruptions in history, which can cause widespread damage. A VEI 4 or higher eruption killed over 10,000 people and cost the Italian economy $20 billion. The eruption could also cut off power and water supply to millions of people for months.
The eruption destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, two ancient towns. They were both part of the Roman Empire and had become popular resorts since the 2nd century B.C. These cities featured elaborate housing, factories, bathhouses, and shops. They even had a 20,000-seat arena and outdoor seating areas. More than 2000 people died when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. The ashes and fumes from the volcano buried the town, which was thriving in those days. The lashes stayed on the ruins for centuries.
The eruption began on the morning of April 4. It continued for two days before it ended. Minor earthquakes were felt before the eruption, but no one took these as a warning of imminent volcanic activity. After the eruption ended, the sea level dropped about 50 cm.
9. Vesuvius, Italy 1631
Total: 3,360 Deaths
The Vesuvius eruption of 1631 was one of the deadliest volcano eruptions in history. It destroyed many buildings, homes, and communities in the area. It was so powerful that a pyroclastic flow was formed, which destroyed the structures in its path. The eruption also affected the coastline.
Small earthquakes accompanied the eruption for about four days, which were not taken as an indication of impending volcanic activity. The explosion itself lasted only two days. It was the deadliest volcanic eruption in history. The only eyewitness to the outbreak was Pliny the Younger.
Although the Vesuvius volcano is currently quiet, it may erupt again at any time. Only minor seismic activity and some outgassing from fumaroles in the summit crater exist. The danger is still great, however. The authorities have implemented emergency plans to cope with the eruption in the event of an eruption.
Mount Vesuvius, Italy’s largest active volcano, overlooks Naples. It was responsible for some of Europe’s most significant eruptions, including the ones that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum. The last major explosion occurred in 1944, but the risk of a deadly eruption remains high in populated areas.
8. Galunggung, Indonesia
Total: 4,011 Deaths
Galunggung volcano is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes. This stratovolcano sits in west Java with an open caldera toward the southeast. It has erupted four times since 1822, the most recent in 1984. The height of the eruption column was fifteen miles (24 km) above sea level.
The first eruption of Galunggung occurred in 1822. The resulting explosion emitted a 24-kilometre-high column, wiping out 114 villages. The VEI 5 eruption also brought widespread attention to the dangers of volcanic ash for aviation. The ash caused engine failures on two Boeing 747s, forcing them to make an emergency landing at the Jakarta airport.
Currently, there are 128 volcanos in Indonesia, including five submarine volcanoes. It is believed that VEI 7 eruptions occur once every thousand years or so.
The deadliest volcano eruptions in history occur in volatile regions. The islands of Indonesia are volcanically active. The ash from these eruptions makes the land exceptionally fertile but makes agricultural conditions unpredictable in some areas. Indonesia has a unique geological formation resulting from the forces of geological plates from Asia, Australia, and the Pacific. A deep trench has run along the southern coast of the Indonesian chain, causing a lot of instability.
7. Kelut, Indonesia
Total: 5,110 Deaths
The Kelut volcano has been responsible for some of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in history. Most eruptions have included pyroclastic flows and lahars from the crater lake. The 1919 eruption alone claimed over 5,000 lives. The volcano has undergone an engineering project to drain the lake and minimize the threat during future outbreaks. The most significant danger is falling ash, which reaches a large area around the volcano.
The volcanic eruption began with grey-black ash emissions. It increased to a hazard-level ash plume of more than three kilometres in height on February 15. The eruption subsequently lowered to ash emissions of only three hundred meters by February 18. Lava was seen in the nearby Ngobo River, and a 70-year-old man died when his house collapsed. Ash fell up to eight inches deep.
The magnitudes of V.T.s increased dramatically from 6 to February 9, 2014. The CVGHM elevated its alert to Level III (Standby) on February 10 due to the intensification of cumulative seismic energy released. The magnitudes of V.T.s in 2007 were smaller than in 2014, but the cumulative energy released was significantly higher. The largest V.T. was M2.2 on February 9 at a depth of 5.5 km from the summit.
6. Laki, Iceland
Total: 9,350 Deaths
The Laki Iceland Volcanic Eruption of 1783 is one of the deadliest volcano eruptions in history. This eruption devastated the ecosystem of Iceland and the people living nearby. Despite its small size, the volcanic activity caused extensive environmental stress on the island, and its effects could be felt as far as eastern and southern Europe. Because Laki is likely to occur again, we must study how this future eruption could affect society.
During the 1783 eruption, 120 million tons of sulfur dioxide were emitted into the air and were carried to Europe by southeast-flowing winds. The sulfur dioxide dissolved in water and converted into an acidic fog, which the people of Europe detected. The ash cloud lasted eight months, causing bizarre weather patterns in Europe, North America, and North Africa.
Although volcanoes are mighty, they are unstoppable and dangerous. Iceland has experienced several devastating eruptions, and one of the deadliest was the Laki Iceland Volcanic eruption, which lasted more than eight months. The ash deposited from the explosion reached the Middle East, resulting in widespread devastation.
Also, read >> Top 10 Worst Tsunamis in History
5. Unzen, Japan
Total: 14,300 Deaths
Unzen was the site of one of Japan’s deadliest volcanic eruptions in history. It occurred on a Sunday, and many people gathered around the Unzendake volcano to see the plumes and the pyroclastic flows. A gust of southerly wind forced the pyroclastic flow to turn and flow downstream, allowing people to flee.
After the 1995 eruption, the Unzen volcanic area is considered safe to visit. Visitors can visit the room now designated a UNESCO Global Geopark. However, information about the eruption may have changed. As a result, you should see the site only during clear weather.
The Unzen volcano complex consists of four main dome structures. The oldest is the Nodake and the youngest is the Myokendake. The older group of volcanoes erupted 35 cubic km of material, with the youngest, Fugendake, having the most recent eruptive activity. The Unzen volcano complex consists of four dome structures – the oldest is the Nodake and the youngest is the Myokendake. Both have been active over the past 20,000 years, with minor effusive eruptions in 1663 and 1792 and the most recent eruption occurring during the 1990s.
4. Ruiz, Colombia
Total: 25,000 Deaths
The Nevado del Ruiz Volcanic Eruption, also known as the Armero Tragedy, was the deadliest volcano eruption in history. After 69 years of dormancy, the volcano erupted again on August 30, 1989, and sent lahars down the mountain slopes at 60 kilometres per hour. It was a deadly eruption and left hundreds dead.
To help prevent such disasters, the SGC has worked with local universities and schools to create videos, posters, radio spots, and an online teaching module to raise community awareness about volcanic hazards and risk management. This is just the beginning. The next step will be determining whether the community should relocate or remain in its current territory.
The Nevado del Ruiz Volcano is located northwest of Bogota in the Cordillera Central of the Colombian Andes. The volcano is fed by magma generated above the South American and Nazca boundaries.
The Nevado del Ruiz’s eruptions are varied and unpredictable, with a low predictability rating. The Servicio Geologico Colombiano says that it could blow again within 30 years.
3. Mt. Pelee, Martinique
Total: 29,025 Deaths
One of the deadliest volcano eruptions in history ever recorded occurred on Martinique Island. In 1902, Mount Pelee erupted and destroyed the town of St. Pierre in minutes, killing all but a few people. A tidal wave was also triggered, which broke telegraph cables and sank many ships in the bay.
After the first eruption, Mount Pelee was relatively quiet for two days before it erupted again. The mudflow destroyed a sugar mill and created three tsunamis that damaged houses and boats. The next eruption occurred the night of May 5, and parts of the eruption plume became incandescent, indicating that magmatic explosions were occurring. These eruptions continued through the night and into the next day.
The following day, the ash cloud engulfed the island and was laced with lightning. The trade winds carried the ash to towns further west. Ash caused total darkness in the region, and domestic animals cried out in terror. The residents of Fort-de-France, which lies about 10 km south of Mount Pelee’s summit, remained in the city while ash fell on the island.One of the deadliest volcanic eruptions occurred in Martinique in 1902. This eruption wiped out the town of Saint-Pierre. This destruction of the city led to thousands of people losing their lives.
2. Krakatau, Indonesia
Total: 36,417 Deaths
The Krakatau Volcanic Eruption took place on an uninhabited island in Indonesia. The eruption was so strong that it sent a series of tsunamis sweeping across the Pacific Ocean. Some waves were as high as 120 feet and killed 36,000 people living in nearby coastal towns. The Krakatau eruption caused a massive tsunami that buried the entire island group, causing enormous damage and destruction.
Indonesia has over 100 active volcanoes, and volcanic eruptions occur nearly daily. One of the deadliest volcano eruptions in history happened in Krakatau, Indonesia 2018. Despite the death toll, the country remains on high alert and is preparing for more volcanic eruptions in the future.
Despite the destruction, life quickly recolonized the island, and trees and shrubs are now growing throughout the island’s eastern side. Ocean currents, birds’ droppings, and local people brought seeds to the island.
The Krakatau eruption began on May 21 and lasted eight to nine weeks. A German warship captain saw the ash cloud hovering over the island. It was the first recorded volcanic eruption in two centuries.
1. Tambora, Indonesia
Total Deaths: 92,000 Deaths
The Mount Tambora eruption was one of the deadliest volcano eruptions in history. It began on April 5, 1815, and lasted for four months. During this volcanic eruption, 12 cubic miles of ash, rocks, and gases were spewed. This ash covered the surrounding area, burning grasslands and forests and sending tsunami waves across the Java Sea. Thousands of people died instantly, and the resulting ash cloud had a devastating effect across the globe.
The volcano’s ash cloud spread over the islands of Sumbawa and Lombok, killing more than 90 thousand people. As the ash cloud rose, the ash particles mixed with water vapor, forming a sulfuric aerosol. The ash cloud eventually resembled a mushroom or an umbrella.
The ash cloud emitted by the Mount Tambora eruption was one of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in history. It cooled the Earth’s temperature and caused famine in many countries. As a result of the volcanic ash cloud, the world’s temperatures were lowered for three years. As a result, the ash cloud caused extreme weather in many areas of the world, resulting in famine, disease, and civil unrest.
Hope you enjoyed reading this article, and you must have learned which are the top 10 deadliest volcano eruptions in history. Comment down below if you have ever experienced any.
Note: The above list is subject to change in the future. We will update it accordingly.