My choice of the most dangerous volcano of the world:
I have to agree with quite a few people. The most dangerous one is one which has been dormant for a long period of time and suddenly starts to wake up. Even more so if this sleeping giant lies in a densely populated area. Areas around volcanoes are often inhabited by large crowds of people.
The soils are very fertile. Over all I would say, the most dangerous volcanoes lie around the Pacific Ring of Fire (Sorry Renato.) These are mostly volcanoes caused by tectonic subduction zones and so many of them are and were created by an explosive magma mixture.
Rayon ist certainly one of the most dangerous volcanoes:
Situated in the north of the Phillipines it threatens thousands of people.
Mayon most certainly has the potential to match Pinatubo or even worse.
Vesuvius comes to mind.
Not a volcano on the Ring of Fire but located near Naples Italy in the south of Europe. Pliny the Younger; also called Plinius was an eyewitness and described the event. Many features he wrote about were considered fairy tales or made up stories to embellish the text; such as the eruption column looking like a pine tree or lightning happening inside the ash column, for the longest time. It took modern scientists to figure out that he described nothing but the events that actually happened. An even bigger eruption happened around 1800 BC. It is now called the Avellino Eruption and has had a huge effect on the Bronze Age population of the area. Pyroclastic flows seem to have travelled as far as 40 km from the crater. And Vesuvius lies inside the crater of Monte Somma. Close to it on the other side of Naples in the middle “Campi Flegrei”, the Flegreian Fields you can find the town of Pozzuoli with its Volcan Sulfatura
This volcano is far from extinct. Should it become even more active … there is a schoolyard and many housing areas situated just a few steps away from the vents.
Ever heard of Monte Epomeo? It forms part of the island of Ischia. Another active volcano in the vicinity of Naples. Earlier there was an image of Mount Saint Helens and its newly formed lava dome. Here is an image of the rocky plug being pushed out of Mount Pelee shortly before the eruption.
The rock on which Castle Aragonese lies, is just such a plug.
Here is an other: Sant Angelo D’Ischia
So 2 supervolcanoes have the potential to destroy Naples, in case they should decide to erupt, most of Europe would get influenced, if not directly through ashes or gases, most certainly through the breakdown of the economy in Southern Italy or closures of airspace. Fortunately nothing points to an imminent eruption within the next few years, but this may change at anytime.
Aukland Volcanic Field.
Read further on https://volcanocafe.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/urban-volcanism/ by El Nathan.
This volcanic feature may not harbour a threat for the globe as a whole but would you want to live in a town in whose very center a new volcano could erupt very soon? Over 40 volcanic cones can be counted inside the borders of Auckland. Even though the Taupo Volcanic field is considered more dangerous, it could be quite inconvenient if an eruption starts taking place within walking distance of someone’s house. The cones which can be seen at the moment are most likely dead and won´t erupt again, but magma will find another way out and Auckland Volcanic Field will erupt again. The question is: when and where?
One of my personal candidates for the title “most dangerous volcano of the world” is Mount Rainier.
Like Mount Saint Helens it is member of the mountain range called the Cascadians. But it is far higher than its sibling Mount Saint Helens. A glacier covers its top, so in an eruption lahars will occur. Deposits show this has happened in the past. Many buildings of the area sit on top of 20 meter layers left behind by such mudflows. The hazard map shows the areas that will be affected.
As stated before, by me and many others, the most dangerous volcano is one which has lain dormant for ages and suddenly reawakens with little warning. This doesn’t happen frequently insofar as most volcanoes announce that they’re becoming active again, months or even years in advance of an eruption. But it has happened. Chaiten is one example for such an occurrence. Mount Saint Helens began to stir only a few months before it blew.
I also want to mention names, you should at least have heard these in a speech about dangerous volcanoes. Nevado del Ruiz, Santa Maria and Tungurahua will keep on threatening the lives of people in Middle America. Sakurajima will make the news again when its ash column rises some kilometres, though you might find, the people living closeby are not reacting much. They are very used to this behaviour by now. Unzen in Japan is another candidate that will keep erupting. Taal near Manila in the Philipines needs to be mentioned. Many people are watching Iceland closely. And hope that Hekla or Katla or one of the other fascinating volcanoes in Iceland will decide to end their slumbers soon. Perhaps very soon.
One possible candidate for a super volcano is Uturuncu. The area around it is uplifting rather fast lately. It lies in a rather remote sparsely populated area. If it should go super volcano, this won´t matter much, people will notice even if they live on the other side of the world.
Back to Middle Europe.
Unknown to many people there is an active volcanic field right within the borders of Germany. The Eifel Volcanic field. The landscape still shows volcanic cones. Some of the craters are filled with water and present themselves as maars. Laacher See is one of them.
The Carbon-dioxide bubbles emerging from it’s bottom in places, indicate there is still a magma chamber buried deeply below the peaceful countryside. Nothing indicates an imminent eruption. It’s just that whenever you think of potentially dangerous volcanoes the Eifel volcanoes should not be left out.
In my home country Austria. It is known that many “rocks” sticking out of the landscape are made of basalt, on one of those the Riegersburg was built in Styria. Hot springs have been used for healing purposes for a while and mineral waters have frequently been bottled and sold. The whole extent of the volcanic origin of the area was discovered when people started looking for oil in the area. The drilling cores gave hints of the material lying deep below the sediments.
To sum everything up:
Is it necesarry to fear volcanoes? No. But they should be treated with respect. Monitoring them closely is not wasted money for useless things but essential for the local and global population. In some areas like Niaragongo in Africa and just recently in El Hierro, gear like seismometers got stolen. This is always very bad news, not only for the local volcanologists.
Thank you for your attention. I hope i could describe the fascination volcanoes harbor for me a little bit. In case you have question or heard something about a volcano erupting which interests you.. come visit us at Volcanecafe. Even though no one on VC is a volcanologist, the crowd will try to provide answers to your question and give you the latest news of the wonderful world full of volcanoes. Join us and share our hobby with us!
So this is my concept for my talk on Thursday 26. 9. 2013. The speech will of course be in German and I have prepared a powerpoint presentation with videos and loads of normal but also high resolution images. In case someone wants the presentation… i can provide the .pptx. Just ask. The talk will most likely be filmed. Maybe I can offer this too.
Again.. keep in mind, this is a talk for “normal” people, no volcanoholics like us, I hope to change this and make them addicted to eruptions.
Not to forget. Thank you all here on Vc who congratulated me and inspired me to be able to hold such a talk at all. Thank you ALL!!! You are a wonderful crowd of volcano crazy individuals!
Glacier Peak isn’t exactly benign either.:
Interesting. I had missed that one. Maybe we should devote an article to it some time in the future. 😉