Sakurajima – Japan, Kyushu
- Location: Japan, Kyushu island
- Peak: 1117 m a. s. l.
Sakurajima – The volcano is located on the Japanese island of Kyushu. It is not without reason that it is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes on Earth. Since 1955, it has exploded almost continuously. It age is estimated at 22,000 years. Sakurajima is very close to the city of Kagoshima, inhabited by 700,000 citizens.
The historical testimonies of explosions known to us date back to the 8th century. The largest eruption took place in 1914. Until then, the volcano has not shown any activity for more than a century, so it has already been declared extinct. Due to the strong earthquake, the inhabitants of the island luckily evacuated before the eruption. The lava leak lasted for over a month. As a result of this big explosion, the island began to grow, until it finally merged with the continent.
In 2016, the volcano exploded again. A fire was coming out of it, and a cloud of smoke and volcanic dust was rising above it. Broken pieces of rock fell two kilometers further. The main concern was caused by the relatively close location of Sendai nuclear power plant.
Mount Fuji – Japan, Honshu
- Location: Japan, Honshu island
- Peak: 3776 m a. s. l.
Mount Fuji is the highest Japanese peak. Located on the island of Honshu, 100 kilometers southwest of the capital – Tokyo. It is a stratovolcano that was created by repeatedly throwing lava and ash. The mountain, which has a perfectly symmetrical shape and a snowy peak, has become the symbol of the whole of Japan. The first documented eruption took place in the year 800 BC. Since then, there have been several of them – the last known explosion occurred in 1707, when the ash covered the whole city of Edo (Today’s Tokyo).
The Japanese have been worshiping the mountain since prehistoric times, they were gaining it by courageous priests and pilgrims, mainly followers of Shintoism and Buddhism. Supporters of shinto with the mountain combine many deities and legends. Above all, the female deity Konohana-no-sakuyahime. She is a beautiful woman who stops the volcano from erupting, and on the orders of which sakura blossoms in spring. From 1558 there is even a religious sect dedicated to this mountain.
The first to climb Mount Fuji was an unknown monk in 663. From 1868, access to the summit was allowed only for men. Currently, around 200,000 people visit the mountain each year.
Mount Vesuvius – Italy
- Location: Italy
- Peak: 1281 m a. s. l.
Mount Vesuvius is an active stratovolcano located on the Apennine Peninsula in Italy. It is one of the most famous volcanoes in the world. The cone of this mountain grew inside the Monte Somma massif, whose age is estimated to be several thousand years old. Vesuvius is dangerous not only because nearly 3 million people live in its vicinity, but also because its peaceful period has lasted for a very long time.
The volcano became infamous due to the eruption that took place in 79 A.D. Which led to the disappearance of the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabie. During the explosion, a huge amount of dust and volcanic gases got into the atmosphere, forming a cloud probably reaching as much as 37 meters in height. During the eruption, a fiery pyroclastic avalanche (a mixture of volcanic gases, ashes and rock crumbs) was produced from the volcano, which buried 25,000 people in one moment. Death was sudden, people were dying mainly due to thermal shock.
The volcano erupted for the last time in 1944 and destroyed the funicular that took tourists to the crater. The mountain spit out lava and hot ashes for 11 days. As a result of the explosion, 26 people died, and another 1200 were without a roof over their heads.
Nyiragongo – Congo
- Location: Congo
- Peak: 3470 m a. s. l.
Nyiragongo volcano is located in the Virunga mountain chain and although its side craters are already extinct, the main one is one of the most active in the world. This stratovolcano is formed by a group of several volcanoes at Lake Kiwu. In the crater there is a huge lava lake, still active. The temperature of the lava located there varies between 800 and 950 ° C, has a thin consistency and flows very quickly. For this reason, the volcano is a constant threat to the surrounding cities.
The most horrible eruption took place in 1977, when lava flowing down the mountainside killed thousands of people. Magma got to the city of Goma, in which she destroyed 15% of the building and killed about 150 people. A stream of lava reached the shore of Lake Kiwu, forming a peninsula. Another volcanic eruption took place in 2002.
According to legends told by local citizens, Nyiragongo is a holy mountain. The natives believe that an enchanted spirit lives on it, which is trying hard to get out of its earthly dungeon. His angry scream explodes in the form of lava geysers and dense fogs.
Kilauea – United States of America, Hawaii
- Location: United States of America, Hawaii
- Szczyt: 1247 m a. s. l.
Kilauea is located on the Hawaiian island of Hawai’i (also known as Big Island) and is one of the volcanoes that form it. It occupies 14% of this island. The mountain, on the slope of which the lava flows, belongs to the most active volcanoes in the world. According to the Hawaiian history, it spits out lava uninterruptedly since 1983, an average of 400,000 m³ per day. The volcano was created as a result of tectonic movements of the Pacific plate. Which in 70 million years resulted in the creation of a chain of 6,000 km long submarine volcanoes.
The testimonies of the first eruptions come from 1750. However, we learn from the Polynesian myth that the mountain spit out lava much earlier. The lava flows covered the area of hundreds of square kilometers and affected the appearance of the whole coast line. The indigenous islanders believe that Pele, the goddess of fire, lives on the mountain. Goddess punishes anyone who dares to steal volcanic stones. Being for her like children. A thief of such a stone can expect bad luck that will never leave him.
Locals, to the honor of the goddess Pele, perform ritual dances. According to tradition, they throw flowers and food into the volcano crater, which is to give them favor.
Merapi – Indonesia, Java
- Lokalizacja: Indonesia, Java island
- Peak: 2968 m a. s. l.
Merapi is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in all of Indonesia, active on average once every 10 years. This stratovolcano is located in the central part of the island of Java. Near the city of Yogyakarta. Despite the threat at the foot of the mountain, thousands of people live. The activity of the volcano is largely due to the slipping of the Australian tectonic plate under the Sundanese plate. According to scientists, the eruptions of this volcano began about 400,000 years ago.
In the year 1006 there was a big explosion that caused the fall of the Mataram kingdom. Almost 60 explosions have been registered since 1548. The most catastrophic eruption took place in 1930, resulting in the death of 1,300 people. Less victims were killed in 1994, when the volcanic dome collapsed.
According to local beliefs, the mountain has spiritual and supernatural abilities. Each year a priest enters the summit, carrying a mountain of sacrifice.
Nevado del Ruiz – Colombia
- Location: Colombia
- Peak: 5321 m a. s. l.
Nevado del Ruiz volcano, already active for around 2,000,000 years, is 130 km west of the capital of Colombia – Bogota. It has many layers of lava hardened alternately with volcanic ash and other pyroclastic rocks. The mountain is part of the volcanic massifs created by five more volcanoes covered with glaciers. Four of them are still active.
The volcano became famous thanks to its catastrophic eruption, which took place on November 13, 1985. As a result, glacier peaks of 25 km² have melted. The resulting lahars, flowing at a speed of 40 to 60 km / h, flooded the city of Armero and several surrounding villages with a layer of mud deep for 6 meters. Only in the city more than 21,000 citizens died (out of a total of 23,000). Losses reached $ 1 billion. The consequence of this catastrophe was the adoption by Colombia of security measures that should reduce the risk of death for so many people.
In September and October 2010, a gradual increase in seismic activity near the Arenas crater was noticed. Over the next four months, there were earthquakes that increased fear of further devastating eruptions.
Popocatépetl – Mexico
- Location: Mexico
- Peak: 5452 m a. s. l.
Popocatépetl volcano lies about 72 km south-west of the capital of Mexico, it is the second largest peak of the country. Popocatépetl is connected by a pass with a height of 3000 meters above sea level. Paso de Cortés and the second volcano – Iztaccihuatl. The top of the mountain is covered with snow and ice throughout the year. Often, over the top, visible clouds appear that arise from ongoing volcanic processes. The highest volcanic activity took place in 1994, when ash and gases covered an area of 25 km.
The Aztecs considered the mountain to be holy. According to their mythology, the volcano depicts a Popocatépetl warrior in which the Princess Iztaccihuatl fell in love. Her father, however, was not sympathetic to their feelings and sent the young man to war. The princess lied to him, claiming that Popocatépetl died in battle. Iztaccihuatl died of sorrow for her beloved. When the man returned from the war and learned about her death, his heart could not stand and he also died of grief. Gods turned lovers into snow-covered mountains. Locals believe that eruptions are the image of Popocatépetl drama – In Aztec language, this word means “Smokey Mountain”.
Due to volcanic activity, the mountain is guarded by the army, and only groups of scientists have access to it.