A volcanic eruption is among the most dangerous natural disasters known to wreak havoc and devastate human lives. Volatile and unpredictable, volcanoes are capable of changing our world’s landscape in the blink of an eye. Listed here are 10 of the most devastating volcanic eruptions recorded in human history.
#1 Mount Galunggung, Indonesia
In the month of October of 1882, Mount Galunggung erupted for the first time. The eruption killed around 4,000 people and destroyed 114 villages.
#2 Mount Kelud, Indonesia
Kelud is notorious among Indonesia’s volcanoes for its violent, and often deadly explosive eruptions. One of the worst volcanic disasters occurred during the 1919 eruption, hen the (then very large) crater lake drained and formed lahars that killed over 5,000 people.
#3 Mount Vesuvius
The notorious Mt. Vesuvius has erupted more than a dozen times since it destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The 1631 eruption killed as many as 6,000 people when lava flows consumed many of the surrounding towns.
#4 The Laki Volcanic System, Iceland
Nearly a year of constant eruptions created a dusty volcanic haze that created massive food shortages. Iceland suffered 9,350 deaths mostly due to starvation.
#5 Mount Vesuvius
In one of the most famous eruptions of all time, Mt. Vesuvius erupted and completely destroyed the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. During this eruption Mt. Vesuvius expelled a deadly cloud of volcanic gas, stones, ash and fumes that rose to a tremendous height of 33km. The eruption lasted two days and claimed over 10,000 lives.
#6 Mount Unzen, Japan
The eruption of Mt. Unzen was followed by an earthquake, which collapsed the east flank of the dome. The resulting avalanche created a tsunami which killed over 12,000 people.
#7 Nevado del Ruiz, Columbia
A small eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano melted part of the volcano’s ice cap, creating an enormous mudslide that buried the city of Armero, killing almost 23,000.
#8 Mount Krakatoa, Indonesia
The eruption of Krakatoa in August 1883 was one of the most deadly volcanic eruptions of modern history. The eruption resulted in a collapse of two-thirds of Krakatoa and the sound of the explosion was heard as far away as Australia. The catastrophe claimed nearly 36,000 lives.
#9 Mount Pelee, West Indies
Thought to be dormant, Mt. Pelee began a series of eruptions on April 25, 1902. The final eruption on May 8, 1902, was so destructive that it destroyed the city of St. Pierre, claiming nearly 40,000 lives.
#10 Mount Tambora, Indonesia
The eruption of Mt. Tambora reduced its height from 13,000 feet was reduced to 9,000 feet. The eruption killed an estimated 92,000 people, including 10,000 from explosion and ash fall, and 82,000 from other related causes.