Places You Would Never Know Had Volcanoes from Places You Would Never Know Had Volcanoes
Places You Would Never Know Had Volcanoes
The Earth is 4.5 billion years old. It has probably seen millions of volcanoes during its lifespan. Just over the last 10,000 years, about 1,500 have been active on land. Many more on the ocean floor remain unknown, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The most famous volcanoes are in Hawaii, Italy and South America. Some are and dangerous, but accessible for hiking enthusiasts and adventurers. Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Ecuador and Iceland are other countries widely known for their active and dormant volcanoes. But there are also places you may have never heard of, where lava lakes are hiding underground.
Mount Paektu, an active volcano on the border between North Korea and China at 9,003 feet, is a “dangerous giant,” according to National Geographic. It has been quiet for about a thousand years but no one knows if, or when, the 9,000-foot-tall (2,740-meter-tall) peak might erupt again. The volcano is a mystery because “it shouldn’t really be there,” as it isn’t located where tectonic plates collide.
People would not associate the coldest and driest place on the planet with volcanoes, two of which are active – Mount Erebus, which has been erupting continuously over the last few decades, and Deception Island, which had two consecutive volcanic eruptions in 1967 and 1969. Erebus is one of a few volcanoes in the world with a permanent lake of molten lava in its crater, according to National Geographic. A new volcano was found in 2013 buried beneath a thick layer of ice. An eruption, which can’t be predicted, can speed up ice loss and raise global sea levels.
Bald Knoll, at 7,004 feet above sea level, is about 20 miles northeast of Kanab, Utah. Its well-preserved summit crater is about 920 feet in diameter, according to U.S. Geological Survey. It is thought to be the youngest of several basaltic vents scattered across the southwestern part of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. The Bald Knoll lava is undated, but radiometric ages of 0.37 and 0.34 million years have been reported. The volcano’s most recent eruption is also unknown.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea has the most active volcanoes in the South West Pacific because the island lies on the very edge of a tectonic micro-plate, causing the eastern edge of the island to be a volcanic hot spot. There are at least 18 recognized volcanoes, the most active of which are Manam, Karkar, Lamington, Langila, Ulawun, Rabaul and Bagana, according to Volcano Discovery. The Dakataua caldera, one of the area’s most impressive volcanoes, has a volume of about 75 cubic kilometers. Its last eruption was 1,150 years ago.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone is a large caldera complex, created by a massive volcanic eruption approximately 640,000 years ago. The last lava flow was about 70,000 years ago, according to NPS. The volcano is still active but there are no sudden or strong movements or shifts in heat. Some scientists consider Yellowstone to be a “supervolcano,” or capable of an eruption of more than 240 cubic miles of magma.
Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
Kamchatka has been known as a military region for a long time. The 775-mile-long geologically active peninsula in the Russian Far East has a lot of volcanoes, but there have been very few eruptions that have caused deaths due to the remoteness of the summits. There are more than 130 volcanoes, and about 25 of them are still active, many geysers and hot springs. Most of the active volcanoes lie along a fault line on the eastern flank of the Vostochny Range.
Chaine des Puys is a volcanic province in south-central France. Eruptions began about 150,000 years ago with the most recent eruption occurring around 4,040 B.C. Deposits at Puy de Dome, one of the youngest volcanic featured in the province, indicate that the volcano had Strombolian – producing frequent and moderate eruptions – and Pelean type eruptions, which are explosive and following the collapse of a lava dome.
Vanuatu lies squarely on top of the Pacific Ring of Fire and has nine active volcanoes, seven on land and two beneath the sea, according to the country’s official tourism guide. Mt. Yasur on Tanna Island is the most accessible one. Thousands of people go to see it every year. The most dangerous volcano is Mt. Garet on Gaua. Its most recently erupted in 2009 after many years of inactivity. Other volcanoes can be found on the islands of Ambae, Ambrym, which has the most voluminous active volcano, and Lopevi.
Mount Karthala is a shield volcano. (Shield volcanoes are the largest on Earth) Karthala, the highest point of the country at 7,746 feet, is an active volcano. It erupted in 2005; lava started flowing, sending 30,000 of people fleeing. No one was injured.
Mount Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano in the Virunga National Park, one of four places where you can see gorillas. The summit has a lava lake that is more than a mile wide. Nyiragongo is one of the most active volcanoes on the continent, as it produces eruptions every few years. Large fluid lava flows travelling for miles into the barely populated area of tropical forest and farmland surrounding it.
Iran lies at the collision zone between the Eurasian and the Arabian tectonic plate, according to Volcano Discovery. Its most notable volcano is Mount Damavand, a stratovolcano and the highest mountain in the Middle Eastern region. It has a lake and young lava flows from the summit covering the western side of the volcano. Other volcanoes in the country are Bazman, Qal'eh Hasan Ali, Sabalan, and Sahand.
Turkey doesn’t draw tourists for its volcanoes and highlands. But being situated across a transform fault between the Eurasian and Anatolia tectonic plates, it has several volcanic mountains. The cause of volcanism in eastern Turkey has not been established. Ararat, a stratovolcano that has not erupted in historic time, is the largest and highest volcano in the country. It is thought to be the resting place of Noah's ark. Tendurek in the south of Mount Ararat Mountain is the country’s only active one at 11,750 feet. The big caldera of Acigöl-Nevsehir is located in central Turkey.
Little is known about the petrology and geochemistry of Tertiary-Holocene volcanoes of Armenia, but this is a region with very active crustal-scale faults responsible for triggering large earthquakes, according to Leeds School of Earth and Environment. The volcanoes of the Caucasus region have been erupting since the Eocene and many are still active. “This region represents one of the few places on Earth where it is possible to study volcanism associated with active continent-continent collision.” Mount Aragats, at 13,420 feet, is the highest.
Photo Modified: Flickr/NOAA Photo Library/CC BY 2.0
Washington has five major volcanoes and they sometimes overshadow Alaska, which also has many but most of them are not active. According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory’s latest report, the only one with an “advisory” alert level is the Cleveland Volcano, but no significant activity was detected. The most famous one is the Aniakchak, a caldera about 6 miles across, at an elevation of 4,400 feet. Nearby towns are Port Heiden and Chignik. The volcanoes most recent eruption was in 1931.