Special Report

Most Devastating Volcanic Eruptions in History

16. Mount Galunggung
> Year: 1822
> Location: Indonesia

Although Mount Galunggung has erupted several times since, its first recorded eruption occurred in 1822. Pyroclastic flow and mud destroyed more than 100 villages and killed more than 4,000 people.

17. Santa Maria
> Year: 1902
> Location: Guatemala

After lying dormant for centuries, the Santa Maria volcano erupted when a series of earthquakes hit Central America in 1902. The VEI 6 eruption emitted nearly two cubic miles of magma as well as volcanic ash that reached as far as San Francisco. It is estimated that 6,000 people died as a result of the blast.

Source: wataru aoki / iStock via Getty Images

18. Mount Unzen
> Year: 1792
> Location: Japan

In the deadliest eruption in Japanese history, Mount Unzen killed 15,000 people when a landslide created by the collapse of its dome buried the city of Shimbara, then crashed into Ariake Bay, causing a megatsunami that further devastated the surrounding area.

Source: jowil / iStock via Getty Images

19. Mount Papandayan
> Year: 1772
> Location: Indonesia

The first eruption of Mt. Papandayan occurred in 1772, when a section of the mountaintop collapsed and the ensuing avalanche decimated 40 villages and killed 3,000 people. The volcano is currently a tourist attraction containing bubbling mud vents and four large craters that emit gasses and steam.

Source: gagarych / iStock via Getty Images

20. Kelud
> Year: 1586
> Location: Indonesia

Currently an active volcano containing a large crater lake, Kelud has erupted many times — the deadliest occurence being in 1586, when the mountain’s crater lake emptied and more than 10,000 people were killed by the worst volcanic mudflow in recorded history.

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