Not too far east of Mexico City, this snow capped volcano has erupted no less than 20 times since 1519. Nearly 9 million people live within its blast radius. It last erupted 17 years ago, but thanks to perfectly executed evacuation procedures, 41,000 people from surrounding towns got away safely.
Mount Vesuvius, Italy
Perhaps the most famous volcano in the world, Mt. Vesuvius wiped out Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 A.D. The volcano is still active, and last erupted in 1944. Furthermore, over 3 million people currently live close to the crater, which lies only 5 miles east of the city of Naples.
The high level of activity in this Japanese volcano has earned it the nickname “Vesuvius of the East.” What was once its own island volcano is now connected to the mainland thanks to its own eruption in 1914. Kagoshima is situated only a few miles away from the volcano, and is 700,000 residents would be in serious danger if a big eruption happens again.
Taal Volcano, Philippines
Situated on the island of Luzon, this cinder cone volcano is just 31 miles away from Manila, home to 1.6 million people. The volcano has killed an estimated 6,000 people in recorded history, and is only allowed to be viewed from a ‘safe distance.’ However, people still manage to find their way onto it.
Mt. Merapi, Indonesia
The translation of Mt. Merapi is “Mountain of Fire.” This name is fitting considering it has produced more lava flow than any other mountain on the planet. With lava flows that can go as fast as 70 mph, the thousands of people that live on its slopes are constantly at risk. In 2010 an eruption killed 353 people and left over 300,000 homeless.
Mauna Loa, Hawaii
When we’re looking at surface area and volume, this is the largest volcano in the world. Its most recent eruption came in 1984, and it has been erupting constantly for 700,000 years. Despite this, the lava flow that leaves the volcano is often very slow, so it poses little threat to the people who live near it.
This bad boy, which is situated in Southern Colombia, has been active for at least 1 million years. A city of nearly 500,000 lives on its slope, which is scary because it erupts very frequently.
Yellowstone Caldera, U.S.A.
Yellowstone National Park, in all its natural beauty, is only a face mask on the underlying danger beneath. Underneath the park lies a super-volcano and boy does that puppy have some power brewing. The last time a super-volcano went off was nearly 700,000 years ago, and it happened in Yellowstone. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again anytime soon, because it would wipe out half of the country. An interesting note about super-volcanoes is that they don’t look like the traditional volcanoes we are used to seeing. Instead of being a a cone shaped mountain, they are essentially giant sunken areas of ground.
Mt. Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of Congo
Equipped with giant lava lakes, this thing looks like the kind of volcanoes you see in movies. There is always a constant worry, though, that the crater walls might give in and the massive lava lake will drain onto the surrounding communities. This has happened before, and will likely happen again.
Ulawun, Papua New Guinea
Nearby residents are used to seeing frequent bursts of ash coming out from the volcano and landing all over their towns. This volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Papua New Guinea.