10 Most Dangerous Active Volcanoes in the World

Volcanoes are a thing of awe and dread. Dubbed nature’s fiery spectacles, volcanoes have frightened and fascinated humans for as long as memory can serve. While we revere dormant volcanoes for their spine-tingling allure, active vents demand our respect and vigilance for the devastating force they represent and the catastrophe that trails their wake. Here are the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.

1. Mount Vesuvius, Italy

Scenic picture-postcard view of the city of Napoli (Naples) with famous Mount Vesuvius in the background in golden evening light at sunset, Campania, Italy
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Near Naples, the infamous Mount Vesuvius rises into the murky sky with the ruins of its violent history surrounding it. Vesuvius is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes globally, posing great danger to the housing and livelihood of locals in Naples. Vesuvius is the only volcano on Europe’s mainland that has erupted in the last hundred years.

2. Yellowstone Caldera, United States

The Yellowstone Caldera. Сaldera and supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park in the Western United States
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When Yellowstone erupts, its lava will travel over 40 miles, destroying everything in its path, including houses and vegetation. Yellowstone hasn’t erupted in thousands of years, but the volcano is still considered active.

3. Popocatepetl, Mexico

Active Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico
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Popocatepetl, also known as “Popo” by locals, is one of Mexico’s most dangerous and active volcanoes, having erupted more than 15 times since the Spanish arrived in 1519. Popo started erupting again after some quiet in 2003 and is still erupting to date.

4. Mount Merapi, Indonesia

Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta, Indonesia Volcano Landscape View
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Nestled in the Pacific Ring of Fire, Mount Merapi is an active stratovolcano that has caused significant loss of life and destruction. Mount Merapi is currently erupting, and its gusty nature easily makes it Indonesia’s most volatile volcano.

5. Mount Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of Congo

28 October 2015. Goma Mount Nyiragongo. Democratic Republic Congo.
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Nyiragongo is one of the earth’s deadliest. It fields a lake of lava bubbling within its craters around seasons. Mount Nyiragongo’s eruption in 2002 led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands in the region, and there is growing fear it may come alive again.

6. Mount Etna, Italy

Stunning view at the volcanic crater and groups of tourists walking around it. Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy
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Italy’s second volcano on the list of deadliest, Mount Etna, ranks in the danger spectrum of Vesuvius. Unarguably one of the tallest in Europe at 1,014 feet, Etna last erupted in February 2021 and has been active since the turn of the millennium.

7. Sakurajima, Japan

KAGOSHIMA CITY, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 15: Volcano Mt Sakurajima erupting, Kagoshima City, Japan, February 15, 2011. This volcano,only 4km across Kinko Bay from the city, erupted over 800 times in 2010
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Located in the Bay of Kagoshima in Japan, Sakurajima is hardly ever devoid of spouting and rupturing. This volcano is reputable for sending plumes of ashes and smokes into the air, disrupting air travel while posing significant threats to nearby communities.

8. Cotopaxi, Ecuador

Cotopaxi volcano in eruption of water vapors, seen from the south on November 27, 2022
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A colossal stratovolcano protrudes into the sky of the Ecuadorian Andes, spreading an imposing presence near the capital city of Quito. Cotopaxi is currently erupting in 2023. Experts advise nearby residents to seek an alternative settlement as fiercer eruptions could affect locals living miles away.

9. Mount St. Helens, United States

Mount St. Helens Blow-Off Flying Over
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Mount St. Helens is a potent reminder of the unpredictable power of nature, especially for its most memorable volcanic event in 1980, which has been dubbed the most deadly and economically destructive volcano in the history of the contiguous United States. Mount St. Helens last erupted between 2004-2008 but is still active.

10. Kīlauea, Hawaii, United States

Kīlauea, Hawaii
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A shield volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, Kīlauea is notable for its frequent eruption and the grave risk it poses to nearby communities. Kīlauea’s danger is seen in the vast changes its lava caused on the surrounding landscapes. In late June 2023, Kīlauea’s fiery display was labeled as “a stunning lava show” by the Associate Press.

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