Largest Volcanic Eruptions In Recent History


Volcanoes are the most beautiful wonders of the world. They are so awe-inspiring when they are asleep, but once a volcano awakens, they can be your worst nightmare. Volcanic eruptions are so terrifying and destructive. The amount of power released during a volcanic eruption is so massive that it is capable of sending ash thousands of miles up into the air. These ashes also have the capability to bury an entire town under several feet.

With that said, here are the top four largest volcanic eruptions in recent history.

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Tambora – April 10, 1815

Largest Volcanic Eruptions In Recent History
Largest Volcanic Eruptions In Recent History

The Tambora volcanic eruption on April 10, 1815, in Indonesia is the largest in recent history. In fact, it was the only volcanic eruption to have a VEI (Volcanic Explosivity Index) 7 from the last 1,000 years.

The volcanic eruption was so large and powerful that it was able to cover the entire atmosphere around the world with ash. As a result, global temperatures dropped by at least 5°F. By 1816, the world experience a year without a summer season. Several historians even reported that crops from around the world failed to yield anything because of the sudden change in weather.

Krakatoa – August 27, 1883

Largest Volcanic Eruptions In Recent History
Largest Volcanic Eruptions In Recent History

The Krakatoa volcanic eruption that occurred on August 27, 1883, is perhaps the most famous modern eruption of all time. The powerful eruption managed to obliterate the island of Krakatoa in Indonesia. There were also reports that the sound of the eruption was heard and felt as far 3,000 miles away.

What made this volcanic eruption so destructive is because of the ensuing 150-feet tall tsunami. The tsunami destroyed the nearby towns and villages along the coast.

Huge volumes of ash were also released into the air and stayed for more than two weeks. As of now, the island of Krakatoa is completely gone. The only body of land you can see there is a small island called “Anak Krakatau”. This island emerged from the spot of where Krakatoa once was in 1927.

Novarupta – June 6, 1912

Largest Volcanic Eruptions In Recent History
Largest Volcanic Eruptions In Recent History

Perhaps the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century occurred when Novarupta erupted on June 6, 1912. The explosion was so powerful that it released 30 times more magma than the volcanic eruption of Mount Helens in 1980.

Luckily, the volcanic eruption occurred in a very remote area of the Alaskan Peninsula which prevented casualties and devastation.

Pinatubo – June 15, 1991

Largest Volcanic Eruptions In Recent History

The Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption that occurred on June 15, 1991, was the largest and most powerful eruption in recent history. This was also the first time where technological advancements has done a lot in minimizing the casualties and damage brought by the volcanic eruption.

Before the events on June 15, 1991, nobody knew about the eruptive history of Mount Pinatubo. Most of the experts didn’t even know that it was a volcano. Because of the dense forest covering and obscuring it from view. The earthquakes and minor eruptions prior to the major eruption suggested that it could soon erupt. The readings were further supported by the gases that were found to be building up within the volcano. As a result, experts suggest that this will be a major eruption.

The government immediately issued a massive evacuation order. More than 66,000 people were able to evacuate safely. About thirty percent of these people were from an indigenous tribe that live on Mount Pinatubo. Only 850 people died because of the volcanic eruption.

Final Thoughts

Volcanic eruptions like the ones mentioned above are far and between. They are pretty rare and usually happens after several hundreds of years. But nobody knows when will the next major volcanic eruptions will be because they can be sometimes unpredictable. Fortunately for us, we are now able to predict accurately when there is an impending volcanic eruption. This is largely in thanks to the advancements in technology.

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