TIME TO COUNT down some dangerous volcanoes. I’ve gone through what might make a volcano dangerous and how I tried to rank dangerous volcanoes, developing a points system based on population, magma type, volcano type, and past large explosive eruptions.
Looking at some recent articles about “dangerous volcanoes,” my ranking comes to some pretty different conclusions. What my ranking boils down to is what volcano has the highest potential for mass casualties based population, style of eruption and potential for large explosive events.
I’ll start with some honorable mentions that fell outside the top 10 (in order of increasing danger): Pululagua (Ecuador), Guntur, Gede-Pangrango and Semeru (Indonesia), Popocatépetl (Mexico), Colli Alban (Italy), Dieng Volcanic Complex and Tengger Caldera (Indonesia), Nyiragongo (DR Congo), and Merapi (Indonesia).
Supervolcanoes, as we colloquially know them, normally have a few common characteristics, including a massive cauldron-like crater (a “caldera”) and a vast magma source. Generally speaking, this moniker is casually attached to volcanoes that produce highly infrequent and intensely explosive blasts registering at the upper end of the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI).
And what, pray tell, is the VEI? Devised by a pair of inventive volcanologists back in 1982, it’s the only numerically standard way to define how “explosive” an eruption was by looking at a few criteria, including the ash plume height, the amount of volcanic material ejected, and how often this type of eruption occurs.
Check this Top 5 Most Dangerous Volcanoes in the World video!