Both terrifying and awe-inspiring, volcanoes never cease to amaze. With steam plumes, fiery explosions, and rivers of magma, they reveal the wonders of nature and the mysteries of Earth. But, they’re also incredibly dangerous, causing harm to many people all over the world. It’s unlikely we’d get near one of these things anytime soon. With that said, here are 25 Incredible Photos of Volcanic Eruptions You’ll Want To See.
Last Updated on
In 2009, the International Space Station passed over Sarychev Volcano just as it was about to erupt. The astronauts were fortunate enough to get incredible photos and video of the eruption from space.
Mount Cleveland Eruption
Mount Cleveland is one of the most active volcanos in Alaska, producing ash plumes and lava flows quite frequently. It’s heavily monitored due to the danger it poses to air traffic.
A volcano close to Mexico City, the eruption at Paracutin from 1943 to 1952 was the first time scientists observed and studied the life cycle of a volcano.
Alaska is home to many active volcanos, including the Augustine volcano that recently erupted in 2006. Because of its constant, hazardous activity, the USGS (US Geological Survey) watches the Augustine volcano closely.
Part of the Mariana Islands, Pagan Island has one of the most active volcanos in the area. Its last eruption occurred in 1981 and required the evacuation of all the locals.
Part of an archipelago, Mount Gharat is a volcano mostly submerged in the Pacific Ocean. In 2013, the International Space Station was capable of taking photographs of Mount Gharat during an eruption.
Manam volcano is one of the most active in Papua New Guinea with frequent eruptions resulting is several deaths. In 2004, the eruption forced an evacuation of the island.
Bamus, Ulawun, and Lolobau Volcanos
The Bamus, Ulawun, and Lolobau volcanos are all in close relation to each other on New Britain Island. Of the three, Ulawun is the most active with 22 eruptions since the 1700’s.
This terrifying beauty is called Chaitén Volcano, residing in the lower half of Chile. In 2008, it erupted so intensely that it built a new lava dome and caused significant trouble for the nearby town of Chaitén.
Located on the eastern end of Russia, Shiveluch volcano has been violently active since 1980, producing high plumes and lava flows which creates further dome growth.
Guagua Pichincha Volcano
Looking like a nuclear explosion, the Guagua Pichincha volcano last erupted in 2002 and is located very closely to Quito, Ecuador, a city of approximately 2.5 million people.
This gorgeous photo of Mount Merapi was taken in Indonesia. Merapi is a highly active volcano with frequent eruptions resulting in several smoke plumes.
One of Chile’s largest and most active volcanoes, Llaima’s last eruptions were in 2008 and 2009, producing heavy smoke plumes and lava fountains.
West Mata Volcano
In 2009, scientists discovered the West Mata volcano, but what’s spectacular about it is that it’s underwater. Using a submarine, scientists were able to take pictures and record the eruption. They also observed a new type of lava and saw as it ran across the ocean floor.
There’s no doubt that Mount Redoubt is an electrifying and powerful volcano. Located in Alaska, the last eruption at Redoubt occurred in 2009. This volcano is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Alaska.
Residing in the Philipines, Mayon volcano is one of the most famous and deadly. In 1814, its eruption killed more than 1,200 people.
The Lascar volcano is located in northern Chile and has erupted five times over the last decade. In 2015, it surprised scientists with an unexpected eruption.
Mauna Loa Volcano
No, that’s not the set from a movie. That’s an actual photo taken by the USGS during an eruption at the Mauna Loa volcano in 1984. After three years of earthquakes, the Mauna Loa eruption happened suddenly, ending nine years of overall silence.
Located in Eritrea near the Red Sea coast, the Nabro volcano mostly lay dormant until 2011 when it erupted due to a few nearby earthquakes.
Located in Sicily, Italy, the Etna volcano is Europe’s largest and most active volcano. It frequently erupts, creating large smoke plumes and rivers of lava.
Alright, technically Holuhraun is a lava field rather than a full-fledged volcano, but look at that fiery explosion! We couldn’t leave this one out. Located on Iceland’s largest glacier, the lava field has spread more than 32 square miles. However, some believe that it could be slowing down.
Mount St. Helens
An infamous volcano in the United States, Mount St. Helens blew its top in 1980, resulting in the surrounding area being covered in dark ash and toppling over trees in a 19-mile area.
Located in Hawaii, the Kilauea volcano is the most active and constantly erupting volcanoes in the Hawaiian islands. Massive eruptions started in 1983; most of the activity is at the Pu`u`O`o vent. And yes, that’s its real name.
One of the most active volcanoes in South America, Tungurahua is located in Ecuador, and since 2000, it has been growing a new lava dome in its crater. Because of the danger it poses to the nearby population, many people have been evacuated.
Mauna Ulu Volcano
Located in Hawaii, the Mauna Ulu volcano is close by Pu`u`O`o and is currently active. One of its heaviest eruptions started in 1969 and remained active until 1974. While it’s mostly sealed off from the main magma chamber now, it’s still monitored frequently.
Photo: 25. Wikipedia commons (public domain), 24. Wikipedia commons (public domain), 23. Wikipedia commons (public domain), 22. Wikipedia commons (public domain), 21. Wikipedia commons (public domain), 20. Wikipedia commons (public domain), 19. Wikipedia commons (public domain), 18. Wikipedia commons (public domain), 17. Wikipedia commons (public domain), 16. shutterstock, 15. Paginario, Erupcion guagua rgb, CC BY 3.0, 14. Wikipedia commons (public domain), 13. Urbatem2; cropped by Beyond My Ken, Llaima eruption2 crop, CC BY-SA 2.0, 12. Wikipedia commons (Public Domain), 11. Wikipedia commons (Public Domain), 10. Wikipedia commons (Public Domain), 9. Photographer: Neil from Santiago, Chile. Cropped by uploader (Avenue)., Lascar eruption 2006b – cropped, CC BY-SA 2.0, 8. Wikipedia commons (Public Domain), 7. NASA image, Nabro volcano eruting in Eritrea, CC BY 2.0, 6. Angelo T. La Spina, Etna’s NSEC (New South East Crater) eruption, CC BY-SA 4.0, 5. Joschenbacher, Fissure eruption in Holurhraun (Iceland), 13. September 2014, CC BY-SA 4.0, 4. flickr.com (public domain), 3. Wikipedia commons (Public domain), 2. Wikipedia commons (Public domain), 1. Wikipedia commons (public domain)