From dangerous lava flows to potentially catastrophic mega-tsunamis, the effects of volcanic eruptions can be awesome, mesmerizing and frankly terrifying. What’s more, it’s perfectly conceivable that these eruptions could be powerful enough to end the world as we know it.
Whether they wipe cities from the map or bring nations’ economies to their knees, when the world’s deadliest volcanoes blow their tops, there’s likely to be little anybody can do about it. One, Japan’s Mount Fuji, is a national landmark both loved and feared; another, the “supervolcano” lurking beneath Yellowstone National Park, is barely traceable to the untrained eye. Yet all six of the following volcanoes have one feature in common: the devastating potential to change the face of the Earth forever.
6. Mount Vesuvius – Gulf of Naples, Italy
Mount Vesuvius has stirred explosively to life around 30 times since infamously destroying Pompeii in 79 C.E.; most recently during the Second World War, when mainland Europe’s solitary active volcano killed 26 individuals. Moreover, according to Japanese volcanologist Nakada Setsuya, another eruption may be on the cards. This time, though, the damage could be catastrophic – potentially erasing Naples from the map and putting the lives of three million people at risk. “Vesuvius will erupt – that is certain, because it is an active volcano, even if we cannot predict when,” Dr. Nakada told a gathering of volcano experts in 2013. “Italy must discuss and prepare a plan to manage the situation.”