10 Cities in the Sights of Deadly Volcanoes

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Image: Kimon Berlin

10. Kagoshima – Sakurajima

Nicknamed the ‘Naples of the Eastern world,’ Kagoshima is a densely populated city of 680,000 people that lies in the shadow of a great volcano. Directly across the bay, just a few kilometers away, is the looming presence of Sakurajima – a volcano that has been venting small explosions almost nonstop since 1955. Yet a single larger eruption may occur at any time. Living in the knowledge that a volcano with the capacity to destroy your city is just a few kilometers away must be nerve-wracking, especially when the sirens blow for evacuation drills.


Image: Douglas Perkins

The Japanese government has built shelters to enable the people of Kagoshima to take refuge from falling volcanic debris and ash – should Sakurajima erupt as it did in 1914. The 1914 eruption was the most violent witnessed by Japan during the 20th century. The lava flows – which lasted for months – were so great they connected what was then a volcanic island to the mainland, forming a peninsula. There is never a feeling of total safety in Kagoshima; one only has to look across the water to see that symbol of ever-present danger, Sakurajima.

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Image: Boris Behncke, INGV-Catania

9. Catania – Mount Etna

Rising to a height of 3,329 meters (10,922 ft), Mount Etna towers over the plains and city of Catania in Sicily, Italy, and remains in a state of almost constant activity. One of its largest eruptions occurred in 1669 when lava flows reached the city walls of Catania, breaching them in one section and destroying structures.

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