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How to know the active volcanoes in the world

Volcanoes are geological events that shake the earth’s crust caused by activity from the Earth’s interior. Throughout history more or less important volcanic eruptions have occurred, even some affected the entire planet due to their intense activity. They are the architects of the form we see in the earth’s crust.

This week I was surprised to see tweets from people who put the volcanoes active and only mentioned three. I understand that they are the three that they have heard on television or other media, but those people have not bothered to really look for how many volcanoes are active today.

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Figure 1. Some of the active volcanoes in the world

Volcano Database

The Smithsonian Institution’s website allows you to follow information about volcanoes and their activity over the years. The Smithsonian Institution’s (GVP) Global Volcanism Program provides the content of this website (volcano.si.edu) in support of the Smithsonian’s overall mission for “increasing and disseminating knowledge.”

All material created and made available on this website by GVP is governed by the Smithsonian Terms of Use which respects this website and shares the information duly cited. Online content may be used for personal, educational, and other non-commercial purposes.

Volcanism in 2021

Unlike what it may seem, the volcanic activity of this year 2021 is not far from that experienced in past years. A volcanic activity report between September 22 and September 28 shows that there are 18 active volcanoes and two more that are new, including the volcano of La Palma, Spain as seen in Fig. 2.

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Figure 2. Active volcanoes in a September 2021 report, source https://volcano.si.edu/reports_weekly.cfm#vn_342030

Some of the active volcanoes on this list are unknown the date on which they began their activity, possibly because they are in places with little presence of humans. The one that has been active for the most years is the Santa María volcano in Guatemala, which has been active since 1922, almost a century.

There are some volcanoes that do not appear in the list and that are active. Possibly it is due to lack of data or lack of updating by this website. For example, the Etna volcano in  Sicily that is currently erupting although this data is cited in the list of active volcanoes.

Volcano and eruption statistics

The website has a statistic of volcanoes and eruptions since 1991 as can be seen in Fig. 3.

Figure 3. Volcanoes and eruptions by year

The year the most volcanic eruptions began was 2004. The year in which more eruptions ended was in 2016 with 43 completed. The year with the most total eruptions was in 2015 with a total of 88 eruptions. The year with the mostactive volcanoes was also 2015 with 83 which was also the year in which more countries were affected by volcanic eruptions.

References

  • Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Volcanoes of the World, v. 4.10.2 (24 Aug 2021). Venzke, E (ed.). Smithsonian Institution. Downloaded 01 Oct 2021. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.VOTW4-2013.
  • https://volcano.si.edu/reports_weekly.cfm#vn_342030

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