Volcanic disasters we hope to never see again.
(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
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)
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.