Volcanoes that could erupt at any time

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Last month USA Today reported that a large Ecuadorian volcano called Tungurahua could collapse on its own.

This volcano is far from the only potentially dangerous one in the world, with Mount Fuji in Japan, Mount Hood in Oregon (USA) and others in the Philippines, Indonesia and New Zealand which represent also a threat, writes Business Insider.

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In the event of an eruption, local populations could be displaced and would be in great danger. Here are 13 volcanoes that could erupt at any time – or that already spit lava – classified by the date of their last eruption, from the oldest to the most recent:

Mount Paektu, North Korea

Last eruption: 946 AD (estimate)

Height: 2,744 meters

The National Geographic reports that this volcano violently erupted there over 1000 years, but remained virtually silent since. However, scientists are constantly studying it. It is often cited in North Korean government propaganda, such as last year when leader Kim Jong Un and a group of officials rode white horses to the lake at the top of the volcano. Forbes says North Korean nuclear tests could even accidentally trigger an eruption.

Mount Shasta, California, United States

Last eruption: 1250 (estimate)

Height: 4,322 meters

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS) , Mount Shasta erupts every few hundred years. While it was originally thought that its last eruption dates back to the 1700s, Scientific American reports that it probably dates back much longer – perhaps around 1250, according to the Smithsonian institution’s “Global Volcanism Program”.

The Wall Street Journal reports that scientists are closely monitoring the volcano for signs of an eruption. It is even among the top five on the USGS list of the most dangerous volcanoes in the United States, the risk being determined by the potential for eruption and impact on humans.

Mount Fuji, Japan

Last eruption: 1707

Height: 3,776 meters

One of Japan’s most recognizable symbols, Mount Fuji, last erupted in 1707, according to National Geographic . But the Japan Times reports that the Japanese government is concerned that it will erupt again – and if it does, it will cause billions of dollars in damage, not to mention the great loss of life since is only about 100 kilometers from Tokyo. The South China Morning Post reports that some scientists even fear that the recent eruptions of other volcanoes in Japan will cause the eruption of Mount Fuji creating deep instability, which would lead to the accumulation of ash and the bursting of the summit .

Mount Hood, Oregon, United States

Last eruption: 1866

Height: 3,429 meters

The New York Times reported that this active volcano, which is about 85 kilometers from Portland, Oregon (United States) and the estimated 2.5 million people who live in its metropolitan area, is late for an eruption. According to the USGS , its last eruption dates back to the mid-1800s.

According to the USGS , an eruption could potentially produce large amounts of ash and fine particles, devastating the Portland area and causing widespread power outages, and rendering local water unsafe for consumption. Nevertheless, the local newspaper The Oregonian reports that Mount Hood is very closely watched by scientists – which means locals could be warned in advance if an eruption seems imminent.

Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand

Last eruption: 2007

Height: 2,795 meters

Mount Ruapehu is one of the real volcanoes used as a filming location in the films “The Lord of the Rings”. The New Zealand government’s geological risk monitoring service, GeoNet, currently estimates the alert level for Mount Ruapehu to be one in five, meaning “minor volcanic disturbances”. The GeoNet scale goes from zero, meaning “no volcanic disturbances”, to five, meaning that a major eruption is underway.

However, GeoNet also says: “An eruption can occur at any level, and the levels may not increase one after the other as activity can change rapidly”. This was the case in December 2019, when Whakaari / White Island, a volcano considered not to pose an imminent risk of eruption, suddenly exploded , killing 21 people, according to Reuters .

Mount Ruapehu, the highest mountain on the North Island, erupted for the last time in 2007, according to GeoNet .

Tungurahua, Ecuador

Last eruption: 2016

Height: 5,023 meters

In early February, scientists warned that the South American volcano was showing signs of structural collapse, according to ScienceAlert . The volcano, whose name means “Throat of Fire” and “The Black Giant” in the local Quechua language, according to USA Today , has been erupting since 1995, according to scientists from Oregon State University . The Smithsonian Institution’s “Global Volcanism Program” indicates that its last major eruption took place in 2016.

Kīlauea, Hawaii

Last eruption: 2018

Height: 3,610 meters

Kīlauea is the most active volcanic mass in the world, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica . Mythological home to Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire, the volcano continually spat out lava from about 1983 to 2018, when the USGS said it seemed to no longer do so. However, the Scientific American says the volcano will “certainly erupt again soon”.

Anak Krakatoa, Indonesia

Height: 110 meters

A partial collapse of this volcano triggered a deadly tsunami in 2018 that killed hundreds of people, and it has erupted since, according to the Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program . The scientists at Oregon State University say the volcano, much of which was formed in 1883 following the collapse of the Krakatoa volcano -a much larger – and whose name means “Child of Krakatoa” is particularly unpredictable.

Taal Volcano, Philippines

Last eruption: in progress

Height: 311 meters

This volcano started spitting lava in January, triggering its own fire storms. The Taal volcano frequently erupts: it has happened 34 times in the past 450 years, according to the BBC .

Mount Yasur, Vanuatu

Last eruption: in progress

Height: 361 meters

In the South Pacific, along the “ring of fire”, lava has escaped from this volcano for centuries, according to the Global Volcanism Program of the Smithsonian Institute. It is one of the few volcanoes in the world to have a visible lava lake. Atlas Obscura reports that it is also sacred to the cult of John Frum, whose members believe that John Frum, a mythological figure who arrived with American forces during the Second World War, lives inside the volcano.

Erta Ale, Ethiopia

Last eruption: in progress

Height: 613 meters

Atlas Obscura reports that the Afars call this volcano “the smoking mountain” and “the gateway to hell” because of its frequent eruptions and the strange glow produced by its lava lake. The volcano has been in continuous eruption since 1967, according to scientists at Oregon State University .

Mount Merapi, Indonesia

Last eruption: in progress

Height: 2,911 meters

It is the most active volcano in Indonesia. The BBC reports that Mount Merapi has been erupting regularly since at least 1548. This also means that the volcano offers scientists good opportunities to study the functioning of the eruptions. And so develop ways to warn people to keep them safe. Sky said the volcano erupted again on February 13 for less than two minutes.

Mount Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Last eruption: in progress

Height: 3,469 meters

Of American researchers call Mount Nyiragongo “volcano the most dangerous in the world.” It is not only because of the amount of lava that it regularly releases from its lava lake, but also because of the toxic gases it releases. And these gases can be fatal: in January 2002, a combination of poison gas and lava from Mount Nyiragongo killed around 100 people in the neighboring town of Goma, reports the BBC.


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The article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by Ordo News staff in our US newsroom press.