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Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in the World

Volcanic eruptions are some of the most devastating natural disasters that this world has known. They can reshape land, form islands, or destroy homes and habitats. Below you will find the largest volcanic eruptions that have happened in the world over the last 200 years.

Mount Pinatubo

When did it erupt: Jun 15, 1991
Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano located on the island of Luzon, at the intersection of the borders of the Philippine provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. It is located in the Tri-Cabusilan Mountain range separating the west coast of Luzon from the central plains, and is 42 km west of the dormant and more prominent Mount Arayat, occasionally mistaken for Pinatubo. Ancestral Pinatubo was a stratovolcano made of andesite and dacite. Before 1991, the mountain was inconspicuous and heavily eroded. It was covered in dense forest which supported a population of several thousand indigenous people, the Aeta, who had fled to the mountains from the lowlands during the protracted Spanish conquest of the Philippineswhich first commenced in 1565.


When did it erupt: Jun 6, 1912
Novarupta, meaning “new eruption”, is a volcano located on the Alaska Peninsula in Katmai National Park and Preserve, about 290 miles (470 km) southwest of Anchorage. Formed in 1912 during the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century, Novarupta released 30 times the volume of magmaas the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Santa Maria

When did it erupt: Oct 24, 1902
Santa María Volcano is a large active volcano in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, close to the city of Quetzaltenango. Prior to the Spanish Conquest it was called Gagxanul in the local K’iche’ language. Its eruption in 1902 was one of the four largest eruptions of the 20th century, after the 1912 Novarupta and 1991 Pinatubo eruptions. It is also one of the five biggest eruptions of the past 200 years.

Mount Tarawera

When did it erupt: Jun 10, 1886
Mount Tarawera is the volcano responsible for New Zealand’s largest historic eruption. Located 24 kilometers southeast of Rotorua in the North Island, it consists of a series of rhyolitic lava domes that were fissured down the middle by an explosive basaltic eruption in 1886, which killed over a hundred people. These fissures run for 17 kilometers northeast-southwest.


When did it erupt: Aug 26–27, 1883
Krakatoa (Indonesian: Krakatau), also spelled Cracatoa or Krakatau, is a volcanic island made of a’a lava in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Javaand Sumatra in Indonesia. The name is used for the island group, the main island (also called Rakata), and the volcano as a whole.