THE TOP TEN by THE TRAVEL ROOM
TOP TEN VOLCANOES
We here at The Travel Room have a fascination with volcanoes that borders on fetishism. We seek them out and stand in awe when we finally get the privilege of finding them. They are truly one of natures marvels and the awesome show of power reminds us always of how fragile our existence here on earth is. With that in mind and with the recent airline disruptions in Australia and NZ, we thought we would compile a list of the 10 we would love to either see, or have already had the good fortune to visit.
Icelands most active volcano, Grimsvotn was responsible for the most recent shutdown of all domestic and international flights within Iceland, unlike its sibling volcano Eyjafjallajökull which shut down all European airspace in 2010. Grimsvotn lies under the largest glacier in Europe and had been quiet since 2004. When a large eruption occurred in 1996, geologists knew well in advance that a glacial burst was on its way. Several weeks after the eruption finished, whoosh came the water.
1. Grimsvotn - Iceland
As recently as May 2011 Mt Etna put on a show which resulted in a lava fountain that lasted through the night. Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe and has been erupting for over 300,000 years. The Greek historian Diodorus wrote about Mt Etna and its eruption around 60BC. The Travel Room has been up Mt Etna and if you ever want to know what the moons landscape looks like, then this is a great place to start, with its stark and forlorn cooled lava fields.
3. Mt Aso
Japan's Mount Aso is the largest active volcano in Japan, and is among the largest in the world. It is found on the island of Kyushu and is 1592 m above sea level. Mt Aso also has one of the largest caldera in the world with a circumference of around 120km. The highlight of a trip to Mt Aso is the one active peak, Naka-dake, where sulphur gases spew out and quite regularly shut down the cable car.
4. Hawaii - Kilauea
Kilauea is an active volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, one of the five that make up the Big Island.
The word Kilauea means spewing' and thats exactly what Kilauea does. The current flow began in 1983 and shows no sign of stopping. It's a volcano junkies dream destination.
The Travel Room ventured to the Lipari Islands off the coast of Sicily after hearing there were live volcanoes, and whilst the lava flows of Stromboli were unattainable due to a lack of boats, the island of Volcano with its sulphur gases spewing made for a rewarding climb. Next time though it s Stromboli all the way!
6. Puyehue-Cordon Caulle - Chile
7. Mt St Helen - Washington, USA
First climbed towards the end of the 18th century, Kluchevskoy is the biggest active volcano in the Eurasia region, standing at 4,750m above sea level. A relative baby in volcano terms at 8,000 years old, Kluchevskoy stands out as an almost perfect specimen of what the layman expects a volcano to look like, rising to a perfect cone peak at its tip. Klyuchevskaya again burst into life in 2010 as NASA's photos show, making climbing somewhat of an adventure.
Soufričre Hills or as the English translation so vividly describes as "Sulphur" Hills is a 930m hill which awoke from its dormancy in 1995 and has been going strong ever since. Half of Montserrat is now inhabitable and approximately 2/3rds of the population have left the island, with the capital Plymouth no longer in existence. You can however still visit the island and see the trail of destruction wrought upon it as well as witness the current rumblings of this oh so destructive hill.
The main crater of Mount Nyiragongo is about 2km wide and it has been busy erupting over 30 times since the 1880's, with the last eruption in 2002. Currently the activity is confined to the two .
2. Mt Etna - Sicily, Italy
Happily monitoring ensured that the Icelandic ring road (Hringvegur) was closed when the burst occurred and no-one was injured. A section of road across the Skeišarį sandur was washed away in the ensuing flood and here is Ted surfing' whats left.
Ted "surfing" the remains of a bridge! Skeišarį Sandur. Iceland
Overhead view of Mt Etna erupting taken from the International Space Station
Naka-dake (the central summit of Mt Aso) spewing sulphur
Satellite photo of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii
(Pictures courtesy of Wikipedia)
5. Lipari (Aeolian) Islands - Sicily, Italy
Stromboli, Liparic Islands, Italy
After sitting quietly for decades, Puyehue-Cordon Caulle has exploded into life in 2011 and caused airline disruptions throughout the Southern Hemisphere. Until now Cordón Caulle was
The cloud of volcanic ash which is currently grounding flights in Chile, New Zealand and Australia.
Mount St Helens is located in Washington State and is most famous for its eruption on May 18th 1980 which resulted 57 deaths and the destruction of 230 square miles of property. In the new millennium a fresh lava dome grew which resulted in rock falls and plumes of steam and ash. The last known activity was over a six month period in 2008 when steam again started seeping out of a fracture in the lava dome.
Eruption of Mount St Helens in Washington State, United States of America
8. Klyuchevskaya Sopka - Russia
Overhead view of Klyuchevskaya, Russia. Photo courtesy of NASA.
9. Soufričre Hills - Montserrat
10. Mount Nyiragongo - Congo
Lava lake of Nyiragongo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The island of Montserrat taken over by the volcano Soufriere Hills.
The perfect cone of Kluchevsoy Sopka, Russia
most notable for having erupted following the 1960 Valdivia earthquake, the largest recorded earthquake in history. Lets hope it quietens down just a little before The Travel Rooms visit in 2012!
lava lakes on the mountain. Thanks to an extremely fluid lava, when these eruptions occur the lava has been known to flow down the mountainside at speeds of up to 60mph. Be prepared to run like the wind if you are about during one of these.