Five Worst Volcanic Disasters in History

Volcanic disasters we hope to never see again.

  1. Huaynaputina eruption

(16th February 1600)

The Huaynaputina volcano – unnoticeable killer

Huaynaputina is a volcano located in southern Peru. It does not have a mountain like shape, but instead has a form of a large volcanic crater. The last time it erupted it killed more than 2 million people in Russia alone because of the resultant famine. Ash fall was reported more than 500km away, and brought early winter to places surrounding the eruption. Agriculture around the volcano took 150 years to fully recover.

   2. Mount Tambora

       (April 1815)

(image source)

Mount Tambora is an active volcano on Sumbawa Island, Indonesia. Subduction zones beneath the volcano brought it to a height of 4300m before the eruption. Moderate volcanic activity was observed before the eruption, and it reached a climax in April 1815, with a rating of seven on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI). The death toll was at least 71,000 people, of whom 11,000 to 12,000 people were killed by the explosion directly. The year after the explosion of Mount Tambora (1816) became known as the year without summer, with global temperatures dropping around half a degree centigrade.

    3. Mount Krakatau

        (August 26–27 1883)

A recent eruption of Krakatau (popularly known as Krakatoa) [image source]

Amongst the most violent catastrophes in recorded history, this eruption happened late enough to be considered well documented. The largest explosions on August 26 and 17 1883 virtually blew up the whole island, and the area where it once was filled with water from the surrounding sea. The huge explosion was distinctly heard even about 5000km away. The official toll states that at least 36,417 people died, mostly from the violent tsunamis that resulted from the explosion. Interestingly, a series of small eruptions have since built a new volcano called Anak Krakatau, or “child of Krakatau”. The new volcano currently has a height of 300 meters and is growing a average of 5 meters per year.

   4. Mount Pelée

       (8th May 1902)

The 1902 eruption (image source)

A series of small volcanic activities before 8th May, 1902 alerted some people, but they caused little damage. However, on 8th May, the day of the main eruption, the top of the mountain ripped open and a dense black cloud shot out horizontally. Another black cloud shot out upwards, and formed a mushroom cloud like the one in a nuclear explosion. The horizontal cloud then touched down on the ground, and sped through the town of Saint-Pierre with a temperature of 1075 degrees centigrade, instantly razing the town to it’s ground. Deaths totalled to some 30,000 people, with only 2 people survived in the town of Saint-Pierre.

    5. Nevado del Ruiz

        (11th November 1985)

(image source)

Nevado del Ruiz is a volcano in the Tolima Department of Colombia. It has been active for 2 million years. It usually erupts in Plinian eruptions, eruptions that are small but cause quick moving currents of rock and steam. The small eruptions sometimes cause huge lahars, which are flows of debris and mud. This has been endangering life near the volcano for many years. The lahar on 11th November, 1985 buried the town of Armero, causing a estimated 23,000 deaths.This event later became known as the Armero Tradgedy, the deadliest lahar in recorded history.

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28 Responses to “Five Worst Volcanic Disasters in History”
  1. Mr Man Says...

    On August 17, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Mr Man said that volcanic eurptions are harmless:-d


  2. hi Says...

    On October 12, 2009 at 8:43 am

    wrong answer


  3. luniquia jameson Says...

    On October 15, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    is mount crackatowa still active?


  4. Gassart Says...

    On October 15, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    @luniquia jameson : Yes. It is still active. It is now called Anak Krakatau, or child of Krakatoa.


  5. mapa Says...

    On October 29, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    parangaricutirimicuaro!!!!!!!!!!!


  6. ssad Says...

    On December 11, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    hi this is awesome


  7. bozo1 Says...

    On February 10, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    volcanic euroption are harmless


  8. bozo1 Says...

    On February 10, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    i ment harmful


  9. taito mateo Says...

    On April 15, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    you are wrong boy ha ha ha


  10. socks eat mox Says...

    On April 15, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    h hah ah hahaha whoo


  11. mr youth Says...

    On April 15, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    tomgrthujyinb


  12. Richard Welch Says...

    On April 26, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Though hard data are unavailable, the eruption of the Atlantis supervolcano off Portugal in the 17th century BC probably belongs of the list. The death toll must have been in the scores of thousands — not counting victims of the tsunamis hitting the Atlantis littoral (See Roots of Cataclysm, Algora Publ. NY 2009).


  13. tait Says...

    On May 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    hi connor


  14. bazza Says...

    On May 13, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    these volcanoes are around the globe world wide


  15. mr l dot kiddo Says...

    On May 20, 2010 at 4:00 am

    swear down fam


  16. mr patel Says...

    On May 20, 2010 at 4:14 am

    have any of u heard of the volcano urmumsaweener


  17. FBI Says...

    On May 24, 2010 at 9:28 am

    mr patel, im going to need to you to come and meet with us, we will phone you to inform you of our whereabouts on the day we need you tell us of your understanding on subject a14 classified-urmumsaweener.


  18. C.I.A Says...

    On May 25, 2010 at 5:49 am

    mr patel got killer yesterday and its all your fault


  19. C.I.A Says...

    On May 25, 2010 at 5:50 am

    mr patel got killed yesterday and its all your fault


  20. liqadeba Says...

    On September 1, 2010 at 3:13 am

    u guys are weird


  21. karan Says...

    On November 27, 2010 at 2:17 am

    BEST hummm………


  22. anonamoyus Says...

    On December 1, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    im way late on reading this but im doing i project and happened to scroll down and started reading the comments uhmm mr.patel you are very immuture and thats coming from a 7th grader.


  23. Unknown Says...

    On December 1, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    im way late on reading this but im doing i project and happened to scroll down and started reading the comments uhmm mr.patel you are very immuture and thats coming from a 7th grader.


  24. Fayeth Says...

    On December 1, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    im way late on reading this but im doing i project and happened to scroll down and started reading the comments uhmm mr.patel you are very immuture and thats coming from a 7th grader.


  25. SDFSD Says...

    On December 16, 2011 at 10:31 am

    MT TAMBORA KILLED ME!!!!!!


  26. DGFS Says...

    On December 16, 2011 at 10:32 am

    JDFGHUIFFD


  27. smity Says...

    On February 20, 2012 at 9:39 am

    do it if you badddd


  28. Sandy Says...

    On June 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Reading about these disasters, and others over at http://www.ranker.com/list/the-worst-volcanic-eruptions-in-history/drake-bird, I can’t help but notice that for the most part, they all took place many many years ago before we had the technology we have today. I have to wonder though if a similar eruption happened today if we’d have close to the same number of casualties. I mean, can these eruptions be detected before they happen to allow people to evacuate? I’d guess yes but still new to researching volcanic activity.


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