Special Report

This Is the Most Dangerous Volcano on the Planet

Source: marako85 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

2. Santa Maria
> Type of volcano: Stratovolcano
> Location: Guatemala
> Criteria: Major eruption, high fatality eruption, frequent activity, significant lava effusion

Santa Maria erupted massively in 1902 for the first time in recorded history. The event was one of the three largest eruptions of the 20th century, killing more than 6,000 people. Locals didn’t recognize the signs of an impending eruption since the volcano hadn’t previously been known to be active. A smaller volcanic event in 1929 produced deadly pyroclastic flows, and it has continued to see less violent activity in recent years, including lava flows.

Source: okimo / iStock / Getty Images Plus

1. Aira
> Type of volcano: Caldera
> Location: Japan
> Criteria: Major eruption, multiple large eruptions, high fatality eruption, frequently activity, significant lava effusion

Aira is a massive caldera on the southern end of Japan’s Kyushu island. Currently, the city of Kagoshima, situated in the middle of the caldera that forms a scenic bay, is home to over 900,000 people. Japan’s most active caldera, Aira sees several small eruptions every year. Mindful of their precarious position, residents have put in place one of the most advanced seismologic monitoring systems in the world. They are also well-trained in evacuation procedures.

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