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Top 10 most dangerous volcanoes

At the number one spot is the Japanese island of Iwo Jima.

Aerial view of Mount Ioto from the SW with the 167 metres high Suribachiyama, the island’s highest peak.  Image credit: WikiMedia Commons

Aerial view of Iwo Jima’s Mount Ioto from the SW with the 167 metres high Suribachiyama, the island’s highest peak. Image credit: WikiMedia Commons

Where are the world’s most dangerous volcanoes? Volcano enthusiasts working with Albert Zijlstra, Professor of astrophysics at the University of Manchester, have compiled a list.

Published as a series of blogs on the Volcano café website, the list of the 10 most dangerous volcanoes on Earth includes volcanoes which have a realistic chance of erupting in the next 100 years and which risk killing a million people or more. At the number one spot is the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. The list includes volcanoes from all over the world, including South and Central America, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Zijlstra explained the motivation behind creating the list:

There are parts of the world where monitoring of volcanoes is very poor, and many of these poorly watched volcanoes are close to populated areas.

There hasn’t been a major eruption for 200 years, since Tambora in 1815 (“the year without summer”), and there has never been a large eruption in a modern, developed country. There is a chance of perhaps one in three that there will such an eruption this century.

Here is the complete list:

The location of Ioto (Iwo Jima) in relation to Tokyo, Shanghai and Luzon, Philippines as expressed in distance (km) and time at a tsunami propagation speed of 750 km per hour.

The location of Ioto (Iwo Jima) in relation to Tokyo, Shanghai and Luzon, Philippines as expressed in distance (km) and time at a tsunami propagation speed of 750 km per hour.

1. Iwo Jima (Ioto), Japan. Candidate for a very large eruption.
At risk: Japan, Philippines, coastal China
The island of Iwo Jima is about twenty meters higher than it was in 1945 due to a growing magma chamber underneath. The beach where the American forces landed in 1945 is now 17 meters above the ocean surface. The island has been pushed up by 1 meter every 4 years since several hundred years. It is only a matter of time before the whole island explodes. Although few people live on Iwo Jima itself, a large eruption would cause a tsunami that could devastate southern Japan and coastal China including Shanghai and Hong Kong. The team estimates that in Japan the tsunami could be 25 meters high. The eruption of the similar sized Kuwae volcano in Vanatua in 1458 caused a tsunami 30 meters high in northern New Zealand, and lead to the cultural collapse of Polynesia. Here’s more about it

The 300 m high Apoyeque stratovolcano rises to the Northwest beyond the Lago Xiloá maar crater in the foreground.

The 300 m high Apoyeque stratovolcano rises to the Northwest beyond the Lago Xiloá maar crater in the foreground.

2. Chiltepe/Apoyeque, Nicaragua.
At risk: Managua
The second most dangerous volcano has been named as Apoyeque in Nicaragua, which is next to the capital city of Managua, with a population of more than two million. Apoyeque has the threat of an underwater eruption, which could cause a large lake tsunami, as well as the danger posed by the eruption itself. It has had major eruptions every 2000 years. The last one was 2000 years ago. Here’s more about it

Campi Flegrei. Image via campanianotizie.com

Campi Flegrei. Image via campanianotizie.com

3. Campei Flegrei, Italy.
At risk: Naples
In third place is Campei Flegrei near Naples in Italy, which poses even more of a threat to the city than Vesuvius. It erupts less frequently than Vesuvius, but is much closer to the city and has the potential for much larger eruptions. The western suburbs of Naples, a city of 4.4 million, are build inside its caldera. Here’s more about it

Mount Aso photographed from the caldera ridge east of the city of Aso (pop. 28,931). From left to right – Mt Neko, Mt Nakadake and finally Mt Kishima. Image credit: WikiMedia Commons

Mount Aso photographed from the caldera ridge east of the city of Aso (pop. 28,931). From left to right – Mt Neko, Mt Nakadake and finally Mt Kishima. Image credit: WikiMedia Commons

4. Mount Aso, Japan.
At risk: Kumamoto, Nagasaki. Here’s more about it

The extinct volcano Sierra de Guadalupe rises 750 metres above Mexico City, it’s highest peak within 15 km of the centre of the city. In spite of conservation attempts, illegal buildings continue to sprout and at present the crater and debris avalanche have been completely covered by urban development.

The extinct volcano Sierra de Guadalupe rises 750 metres above Mexico City, it’s highest peak within 15 km of the centre of the city. In spite of conservation attempts, illegal buildings continue to sprout and at present the crater and debris avalanche have been completely covered by urban development.

5. Trans Mexico Volcanic Belt, Mexico.
At risk: Mexico City, Pueblo, Toluca. Here’s more about it

Sunset from the 3,148 m high summit of Gunung Agung. The peak in the distance is G. Abang, a remnant of a far loftier peak, Ancestral Batur. Image credit: WikimediaCommons photo by Mrllmrll

Sunset from the 3,148 m high summit of Gunung Agung. The peak in the distance is G. Abang, a remnant of a far loftier peak, Ancestral Batur. Image credit: WikimediaCommons photo by Mrllmrll

6. Gunung Agung, Indonesia.
At risk: Bali. Here’s more about it

Mount Cameroon. Craters left after the eruptions in 2000. Image credit: Wikimedia commons

Mount Cameroon. Craters left after the eruptions in 2000. Image credit: Wikimedia commons

7. Mount Cameroon (or Mongo ma Ndemi), Cameroon.
At risk: Buea, Douala. Here’s more about it

This image shows Volcano Island, located in the middle of the Taal caldera, formerly known as Lake Bombon or Lake Taal. Image credit: George Tapan

This image shows Volcano Island, located in the middle of the Taal caldera, formerly known as Lake Bombon or Lake Taal. Image credit: George Tapan

8 Taal, Philippines.
At risk: Manilla. Here’s more about it

Photograph taken from Legazpi City of Mayon during the December 2009 eruption. Photo credit: New York Daily News, Sayat/Getty

Photograph taken from Legazpi City of Mayon during the December 2009 eruption. Photo credit: New York Daily News, Sayat/Getty

9. Mayon, Philippines.
At risk: Legazpi. Here’s more about it

Image from the 2014 eruption of Gunung Kelud. Photo credit: AlexMG.

Image from the 2014 eruption of Gunung Kelud. Photo credit: AlexMG.

10 Gunung Kelud, Indonesia.
At risk: Malang. Here’s more about it

Henrik Lovën, previously a major in the Swedish army and keen amateur volcanologist, helps to run the Volcano Café site and contributed to the top ten list. He said:

We want to raise awareness that there are many volcanoes that could erupt and that are not being monitored properly. Hopefully the people who live near the volcanoes in this list will get more help to help them prepare for an eruption.

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Bottom line: List of top 10 most dangerous volcanoes on Earth.

Eleanor Imster

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