12 highest and most active volcanoes in the world

Діючі вулкани світу Interesting facts

Undoubtedly, the world’s active volcanoes are one of the most beautiful and fascinating natural phenomena. These geological formations played a key role in the formation of the Earth. Millennia ago, there were a huge number of them all over the planet.

Today, there are few volcanoes that are still active. Some of them are frightening, fascinating, and at the same time destroy entire settlements. Let’s find out where the most famous active volcanoes are located.


A typical stratovolcano (has a layered, conical shape) with a height of 6739 meters. It is located on the border of Chile and Argentina.


Such a complex name can be interpreted in different ways:

  • “water that cannot be found despite long searches”;
  • “a soft mass that becomes solid”.

On the side of the Chilean state, at the foot of the volcano, there is a national park with the same name – Llullayllaco, so the surroundings of the mountain are very picturesque. While climbing to the top, tourists meet donkeys, many species of birds and guanacos living in natural conditions.

There are two routes to the crater:

  • northern – 4.6 km long, the road is suitable for traveling by car;
  • the southern route is 5 km long.

If you are going to walk, take special shoes and an ice axe with you, as there are snowy areas along the way.

Interesting fact! During the first ascent in 1952, an ancient Inca hideout was discovered on the mountain, and in 1999, the mummies of a girl and a boy were found near the crater. According to scientists, they were ritual victims.

The strongest eruptions were recorded three times – in 1854 and 1866. The last eruption of the active volcano occurred in 1877.

A volcano (named after the ancient Roman god of fire Vulcan) is a formation on the surface of the Earth (or other planets) from which magma flows under the influence of tectonic processes. When the magma – lava – solidifies, various rocks called igneous rocks are formed. Volcanoes can differ in shape, location, activity, type of eruption, lava composition, and other characteristics.

San Pedro

The 6145-meter-high giant is located in the Andes Mountains, in the northern part of Chile, not far from Bolivia in the Western Cordillera. The peak of the volcano rises above the Loa, the longest reservoir in Chile.


San Pedro is on the list of the highest active volcanoes. The crater was first climbed in 1903. Today, it is a unique attraction in Chile that attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. In the XX century, the volcano reminded of itself 7 times, the last time in 1960. For more than half a century, San Pedro has resembled a bubbling cauldron that can explode at any time. At the foot, there are signs warning that you can climb to the crater only in a mask that protects against toxic emissions.

Interesting facts:

  • San Pedro is one of the few giant volcanoes that has remained active to this day. Many giants are recognized as extinct.
  • San Pedro’s neighbor is the San Pablo volcano. It is located to the east and its height is 6150 meters. The two mountains are connected by a high saddle.
  • Chileans tell many legends related to the San Pedro volcano, as each eruption in the past was considered a heavenly sign and had a mystical meaning.
  • For the descendants of migrants from Spain and local indigenous people, the volcano is a source of constant and considerable income.

Scientists distinguish between active, dormant and extinct volcanoes. The former include those that erupted at least once during the Holocene (a geological epoch that lasted for the last 12,000 years before modern times), the latter include volcanoes whose eruption is theoretically possible, and the former include volcanoes whose magma has not reached the earth’s surface for many millions of years. However, this classification is not accurate enough, as there have been cases in history when a volcano that was considered extinct suddenly began to erupt.

El Misti

Among all the active volcanoes in the world on the map, this one is rightfully considered the most beautiful. Its peak is sometimes covered with snow. The mountain is located not far from the city of Arequipa, its height is 5822 meters. The volcano is notable for having two craters on its top with diameters of almost 1 km and 550 meters.

El Misti

There are unusual parabolic dunes on the slopes. They appeared as a result of constant winds between El Misti and Cerro Tacune Mountain, and stretch for 20 km.

The first active volcanic activity was recorded during the European migration to Latin America. The strongest, most destructive disaster occurred in 1438. In the XX century, the volcano was active several times to varying degrees:

  • In 1948 for six months;
  • in 1959;
  • in 1985, steam emissions were observed.

Scientists in Peru concluded a few years ago that the volcano’s seismic activity is gradually increasing. This leads to earthquakes, which are not uncommon in this area. Given that El Misti is located near a large settlement in Peru, this makes it a rather dangerous active volcano.


Located in Mexico, the highest point reaches, 5500 m above sea level. It is the second-highest mountain peak in the country.


The Aztecs believed that worshiping the volcano would bring rain, so they regularly brought offerings here.

Popocatepetl is dangerous because many cities have been built around it:

  • the state capitals of Puebla and Tlaxcal;
  • the cities of Mexico City and Cholula.

According to scientists, the volcano has erupted more than three dozen times in its history. The last eruption was recorded in May 2013. During the disaster, the airport in Puebla was closed, and the streets were covered with ash. Despite the hidden danger, thousands of tourists from all over the world come to the volcano every year to admire the views, listen to the legend and enjoy the majesty of the mountain.

Sangai volcano

Sangay is one of the ten most powerful active volcanoes in the world. The mountain is located in South America, its height is 5230 meters. The name of the volcano means “fear-inspiring” and this fully reflects its behavior – eruptions are a frequent occurrence here, and sometimes stones weighing 1 ton fall from the sky. At the top of the mountain, covered with eternal snow, there are three craters with a diameter of 50 to 100 meters.


The volcano is about 14 thousand years old, and has been particularly active in recent decades. One of the most destructive activities was recorded in 2006, when the eruption lasted more than a year.

The first ascent took almost 1 month, today tourists travel comfortably by car, and people overcome the final stretch of the journey on mules. The journey takes several days. In general, the journey is considered quite difficult, so not many people dare to climb to the crater. Tourists who have conquered the mountain can smell the persistent smell of sulfur and are surrounded by smoke. As a reward, the summit offers an amazing landscape.

The volcano is surrounded by the Sangai National Park, which covers an area of more than 500 hectares. In 1992, UNESCO included the park in the list of endangered sites. However, in 2005, the site was removed from the list.

An interesting fact! Three of the highest volcanoes in Ecuador – Sangay, Tungurahua and El Altar – are located in the park area.

Klyuchevskaya Sopka

The volcano is the highest on the territory of the Eurasian continent – 4750 meters, and its age is more than 7 thousand years. Klyuchevskaya Sopka is located in the central part of Kamchatka, with several other volcanoes nearby. The height of the giant increases after each eruption. There are more than 80 side craters on the slopes, so several lava flows are formed during an eruption.

ключевська сопка

The volcano is one of the most active in the world and erupts regularly, about once every 3–5 years. The duration of each eruption reaches several months. The first one happened in 1737. In 2016, the volcano was active 55 times.

The largest eruption was recorded in 1938, with a duration of 13 months. As a result of the cataclysm, a 5 km long crack was formed. In 1945, the eruption was accompanied by a serious rockfall. And in 1974, the active actions of Klyuchevska Sopka led to the explosion of the glacier.

During the eruption of 1984-1987, a new peak was formed, and ash emissions rose by 15 km. In 2002, the volcano became active, with the greatest activity recorded in 2005 and 2009. By 2010, the height of the mountain exceeded 5 km. In the spring of 2016, another eruption took place for several weeks, accompanied by earthquakes, lava flows and ash emissions up to 11 km.

Mauna Loa

The eruption of this huge volcano can be observed from anywhere in Hawaii. Mauna Loa is located in the archipelago formed as a result of volcanic activity. Its height is 4169 meters. The crater is not round, so the distance from one edge to the other varies between 3-5 km. The islanders call the mountain Long.


Note to self! Many guides on the island lead tourists to the Mauna Kea volcano. It is indeed slightly higher than Mauna Loa, but unlike the latter, it has already gone extinct. So be sure to specify which volcano you want to see.

Mauna Loa is 700 thousand years old, of which 300 thousand years it was under water. The volcano began to record its activity only in the first half of the XIX century. During this time, it reminded of itself more than 30 times. With each eruption, the size of the giant increases.

The most devastating disasters occurred in 1926 and 1950. The volcano destroyed several villages and a city. And the eruption in 1935 resembled the plot of the legendary Soviet movie “The Crew”. The last activity was recorded in 1984, when lava poured out of the crater for 3 weeks. In 2013, several earthquakes occurred, indicating that the volcano may soon show what it is capable of again.

We can say that scientists are most interested in Mauna Loa. According to seismologists, the volcano (one of the few in the world) will continue to erupt for a million years.


It is located in the republic of the same name, on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea. It is the highest point of the country – 4040 meters. The foot of the mountain and its lower part are covered with tropical forests, there is no vegetation on the top, and there is a small amount of snow.


In West Africa, it is the most active volcano of all the active ones on the continent. Over the past century, the giant has erupted 8 times. Each eruption resembles an explosion. The first mention of the disaster dates back to the 5th century BC. In 1922, volcanic lava reached the Atlantic coast. The last eruption took place in 2000.

Good to know! The best time to climb is December or January. In February, the annual Race of Hope competition is held here. Thousands of participants climb to the top, competing in speed.


The highest volcano in Indonesia (its height reaches 3 km 800 meters) and the highest point of Sumatra. It is located in the central part of the island, south of the city of Padang. Not far from the volcano is the Keinci Seblat Park, which has national status.


The depth of the crater is more than 600 meters, and there is a lake in its northeastern part. A strong eruption was recorded in 2004, when a column of ash and smoke rose 1 km. The last serious disaster was recorded in 2009, and in 2011, the volcano’s activity was felt in the form of characteristic tremors.

In the summer of 2013, the volcano spewed a column of ash 800 meters high. Residents of nearby settlements hastily packed their belongings and evacuated. The ash painted the sky gray, and the smell of sulfur was in the air. Only 30 minutes passed, and several villages were covered with a thick layer of ash. Fears were raised about tea plantations located near the volcano, which were also affected by the disaster. Luckily, it rained heavily after the event, and the consequences of the eruption were washed away.

It’s interesting! Climbing to the crater takes 2 to 3 days. The route is laid through dense forests, and the road is often slippery. To overcome the path, you need the help of a guide. In history, there have been cases when travelers have disappeared while setting out on their own. It is best to start the climb in the village of Kersik Tua.


Active volcanoes on every continent (except Australia) attract the attention of scientists and tourists. Even in Antarctica there is one of them – Erebus. This volcano is located to the south of other objects that are the subject of research by seismologists. The height of the mountain is 3 km 794 m, and the size of the crater is just over 800 m.


The volcano has been active since the end of the last century, when a station was opened in New Mexico, and its employees monitor its activities. A unique phenomenon of Erebus is a lava lake.

The object is named after the god Erebus. The mountain is located in a fault zone, which is why the volcano is recognized as one of the most active in the world. The gases released cause serious damage to the ozone layer. Scientists note that this is where the thinnest layer of ozone is located.

Volcanic eruptions occur in the form of explosions, the lava is thick, hardens quickly and does not have time to spread over large areas.

The main danger is ash, which makes air travel difficult as visibility decreases dramatically. The mud flow is also dangerous because it moves at high speed, and it is almost impossible to escape from it.

Erebus is an amazing natural creation – formidable, magical and fascinating. The lake in the crater is particularly mysterious.


It is located in Sicily, in the Mediterranean Sea. With an altitude of 3329 meters, it cannot be classified as one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, but it can be confidently ranked among the most active. After each eruption, the height increases slightly. It is the largest volcano in Europe, and its peak is always decorated with a snow cap. The volcano has 4 central cones and about 400 side cones.


The first activity dates back to 1226 BC. The worst eruption occurred in 44 BC, it was so strong that ash completely covered the sky over the Italian capital and destroyed crops on the Mediterranean coast. Today, Etna is no less dangerous than in prehistory. The last eruption took place in the spring of 2008 and lasted almost 420 days.

The volcano is attractive for its diverse vegetation, where you can find palm trees, cacti, pines, agaves, spruce, biscus, fruit trees and vineyards. Some plants are unique to Etna, such as the stone tree and the Ethnic violet. Numerous myths and legends are associated with the volcano and the mountain.


This is the most active volcano in the Hawaiian Islands (though not the highest in the world). In Hawaiian, Kilauea means “flowing”. The eruptions have been taking place continuously since 1983.


The volcano is located in the National Volcanoes Park, its height is only 1 km 247 meters, but it compensates for its insignificant growth with activity. Kilauea appeared 25 thousand years ago, and the diameter of the volcano’s caldera is considered one of the largest in the world – about 4.5 km.

Interesting! According to legend, the volcano is the home of the goddess Pele (the goddess of volcanoes). Her tears are individual drops of lava, and her hair is lava rivulets.

An amazing sight is the Puuoo lava lake, which is located in the crater. The molten rocks are boiling restlessly, creating amazing patterns on the surface. It is dangerous to be near this natural phenomenon, as fiery lava erupts to a height of 500 meters.

In addition to the lake, you can admire a cave of natural origin. Its length is over 60 km, and the ceiling of the cave is decorated with stalactites. Tourists note that a walk through the cave is like a flight to the moon.

In 1990, volcanic lava completely destroyed the village, with the lava layer being 15 to 25 meters thick. In 25 years, the volcano destroyed almost 130 houses, destroyed 15 km of roadway, and lava covered an area of 120 km.

The whole world watched the most powerful eruption of Kilauea in 2014. The eruption was accompanied by periodic earthquakes. Huge volumes of lava destroyed homes and farms. Evacuation of the nearest settlements was carried out, but not all residents were willing to leave their homes.

Shield volcanoes are volcanoes whose repeated eruptions cause lava to spread for many kilometers around the crater and whose numerous layers form a so-called shield. The largest shield volcano in the Solar System is called the Tamu massif. This is an underwater volcano whose area is comparable to the territory of Great Britain, and it is located at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The same type includes Kilauea, a volcano in the Hawaiian Islands that has been continuously erupting since 1983.

вулкан виверження

Volcano Fagradalsfjall eruption

Which continent has no active volcanoes

There are no extinct or active volcanoes in Australia. This is because the continent is located far from crustal faults and volcanic lava does not reach the surface.

The opposite of Australia is Japan – the country is located in the most dangerous tectonic zone. Here, 4 tectonic plates collide.

The world’s active volcanoes are an amazing and frightening natural phenomenon. Every year there are 60 to 80 eruptions on different continents.

The eruptions that were captured on video.

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  1. Ben88

    Overall, the article is informative and well-researched. It provides a good overview of the world’s most active and dangerous volcanoes, making it a good read for anyone interested in natural disasters or geology. The only downside is that the article is quite short and doesn’t go into a lot of detail about each volcano. Nonetheless, it provides enough information to give readers a basic understanding of these fascinating geological features.

  2. Mike77

    The article is an informative and interesting read for anyone interested in geology, natural disasters, or travel. The article presents a list of twelve of the world’s highest and most active volcanoes, complete with stunning photos and concise descriptions of each volcano’s location, history, and current activity.

    The author does a great job of providing relevant information about each volcano, including its height, location, eruption history, and any recent activity. The writing is clear and concise, making it easy for readers to understand the significance of each volcano.

    One of the highlights of the article is the inclusion of beautiful photos that show the awe-inspiring power and beauty of these natural wonders. The images help to bring the volcanoes to life and make the article even more engaging.

    Overall, 12 Highest and Active Volcanoes is a well-researched and informative article that provides readers with an excellent introduction to some of the most significant and awe-inspiring volcanoes on Earth. I would recommend this article to anyone interested in learning more about these natural wonders or planning to visit any of them in the future.