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Volcanoes are geological formations on the Earth's surface where magma comes out in the form of lava. These mountains are not only on Earth, but also on other planets. So, the Olympus volcano on Mars reaches a height of several tens of kilometers. Such formations are dangerous not only with lava, but also with the release of large amounts of dust and ash into the atmosphere.
The eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallayekul in 2010 made a lot of noise. Although it was not the most destructive in strength, its proximity to Europe led to the impact of emissions on the mainland's transport system. However, history knows many other cases of the destructive impact of volcanoes. Let's talk about ten of the most famous and large-scale of them.
Vesuvius, Italy. On August 24, 79, the volcano Vesuvius erupted, which destroyed not only the well-known city of Pompeii, but also the cities of Stabia and Herculaneum. The ashes even reached Egypt and Syria. It would be a mistake to believe that the catastrophe destroyed Pompeii alive, out of 20 thousand of the population, only 2 thousand died. Among the victims was the famous scientist Pliny the Elder, who approached the volcano on a ship in order to investigate it and thus ended up practically at the epicenter of the disaster. During the excavations of Pompeii, it was discovered that under a multi-meter layer of ash, the life of the city froze at the time of the disaster - objects, houses with furnishings remained in their places, people and animals were found. Today Vesuvius remains the only active volcano in the continental part of Europe, more than 80 of its eruptions are known in total, the very first happened supposedly 9 thousand years ago, and the last occurred in 1944. Then the cities of Massa and San Sebastiano were destroyed, and 57 people died. Naples is located 15 kilometers from Vesuvius, and the height of the mountain is 1281 meters.
Tambor, Sumbawa Island. The cataclysm on this Indonesian island happened on April 5, 1815. This is the largest eruption in modern history in terms of the number of people killed and the volume of ejected material. The catastrophe associated with the eruption and the ensuing famine killed 92,000 people. In addition, the Tambor culture, with which Europeans only got acquainted shortly before, has completely disappeared from the face of the earth. The volcano lived for 10 days, decreasing in height by 1400 meters during this time. The ash hid the territory within a radius of 500 kilometers from the sun for 3 days. According to the testimony of the British authorities in those days in Indonesia, it was impossible to see anything at arm's length. Most of the Sumbawa Island was covered with a meter layer of ash, under the weight of which even stone houses crumbled. 150-180 cubic kilometers of gases and pyroclassics were emitted into the atmosphere. Therefore, the volcano had a strong impact on the climate of the entire planet - ash clouds poorly let the sun's rays pass, which led to a noticeable decrease in temperature. The year 1816 became known as the "year without summer", in Europe and America the snow melted only in June, and the first frosts appeared in August. The result was massive crop failures and famine.
Taupo, New Zealand. 27 thousand years ago, a strong volcanic eruption occurred on one of the islands, surpassing even Tambora in strength. Geologists consider this cataclysm to be the last of such force in the history of the planet. As a result of the work of the supervolcano, Lake Taupo was formed, which today is the object of attention of tourists, as it is very beautiful. The last eruption of the giant took place in 180 AD. Ash and a blast wave destroyed half of all life on the North Island, about 100 cubic kilometers of tectonic matter got into the atmosphere. The rock eruption speed was 700 km / h. The ashes that rose into the sky colored sunsets and sunrises around the world with crimson, which was reflected in the ancient Roman and Chinese annals.
Krakatoa, Indonesia. The volcano, located between the islands of Sumatra and Java, produced the largest explosion of its kind in modern history on August 27, 1883. During the cataclysm, a tsunami up to 30 meters high arose, which simply washed away 295 villages and cities, while about 37 thousand people died. The roar from the explosion was heard on 8% of the entire surface of the planet, and pieces of lava were thrown into the air to an unprecedented height of 55 kilometers. The wind blew volcanic ash so much that after 10 days it was found at a distance of 5330 kilometers from the scene. The island mountain then split into 3 small parts. The wave from the explosion circled the earth from 7 to 11 times, geologists believe that the explosion was 200 thousand times stronger than a nuclear strike on Hiroshima. Krakatoa had woken up before, so, in 535, its activities significantly changed the climate of the planet, perhaps it was then that the islands of Java and Sumatra were divided. On the site of the volcano destroyed in 1883 during an underwater eruption in 1927, a new volcano, Anak Krakatau, appeared, which is still quite active today. Its height is now 300 meters due to new activities.
Santorini, Greece. About one and a half thousand years BC, a volcanic eruption occurred on the island of Fera, which put an end to the entire Cretan civilization. Sulfur covered all the fields, which made further farming unthinkable. According to some versions, it is Fera that is the very Atlantis described by Plato. Someone believes that the eruption of Santorini entered the annals as a pillar of fire seen by Moses, and the parted sea is nothing more than the consequences of the departure of the island of Fera under water. However, the Volcano continued its activity, in 1886 its eruption lasted a whole year, while pieces of lava flew straight out of the sea and rose to a height of 500 meters. As a result, there are several new islands nearby.
Etna, Sicily. There are about 200 known eruptions of this Italian volcano. Among them were quite powerful, for example, in 1169 during the cataclysm, about 15 thousand people died. Today, Etna remains an active volcano with a height of 3329 meters, waking up about once every 150 years and destroying some of the nearby villages. Why don't people leave the slopes of the mountain? The fact is that the frozen lava helps the soil to become more fertile, which is why the Sicilians settle here. In 1928, a miracle also happened - a stream of red-hot lava stopped in front of a Catholic procession. This inspired the believers so much that in 1930 a chapel was erected on this place, after 30 years the lava stopped already in front of it. The Italians protect these places, so in 1981 the local government created a nature reserve around Etna. It is curious that a blues music festival is even held on a calm volcano. Etna is quite large, exceeding the size of Vesuvius by 2.5 times. The volcano has from 200 to 400 side craters, lava erupts from one of them every three months.
Montagne Pele, Martinique island. The eruption of a volcano on the island began in April 1902, and on May 8 a whole cloud of vapors, gases and hot lava fell on the city of Saint-Pierre, located 8 kilometers away. A few minutes later he was gone, and of the 17 ships that were at that moment in the harbor, only one managed to survive. Ship "Roddam" escaped from the clutches of the elements with broken masts, smoking and littered with ash. Of the 28 thousand who inhabited the city, two survived, one of them was called Opost Siparis, and he was sentenced to death. He was saved by the thick stone walls of the prison. Subsequently, the prisoner was pardoned by the governor, spending the rest of his life traveling around the world with stories about what happened. The force of the blow was such that the monument on the square, weighing several tons, was thrown aside, and the heat was such that even the bottles melted. Interestingly, there was no direct outpouring of liquid lava, the impact was caused by vapors, gases and sprayed lava. Later, a sharp lava plug 375 meters high emerged from the volcano's vent. It also turned out that the bottom of the sea near Martinique sank several hundred meters. The city of Saint-Pierre, by the way, became famous for the fact that Napoleon's wife, Josephine Beauharnais was born in it.
Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia. A volcano with a height of 5400 meters, located in the Andes, splashed out lava flows on November 13, 1985, and the main blow fell on the city of Armero, located 50 kilometers away. It took the lava only 10 minutes to destroy it. The death toll exceeded 21 thousand people, and at that time about 29 thousand lived in Armero. Sadly, no one listened to the information from volcanologists about the impending eruption, since the information of specialists was repeatedly not confirmed.
Pinatubo, Philippines. Until June 12, 1991, the volcano was considered extinct for 611 years. The first signs of activity appeared in April and the Philippine authorities managed to evacuate all residents within a radius of 20 kilometers. The eruption itself claimed the lives of 875 people, while the US naval base and the American strategic air base, located 18 kilometers from Pinatubo, were destroyed. The ejected ash covered an area of the sky of 125,000 km2. The consequences of the disaster were a general decrease in temperature by half a degree and a decrease in the ozone layer, due to which a very large ozone hole formed over Antarctica. The height of the volcano before the eruption was 1486 meters, and after - 1745 meters. In place of Pinatubo, a crater with a diameter of 2.5 kilometers was formed. Today, tremors regularly occur in this area, preventing any construction within a radius of tens of kilometers.
Katmai, Alaska. The eruption of this volcano on June 6, 1912 was one of the largest in the 20th century. The height of the ash column was 20 kilometers, and the sound reached the capital of Alaska, Juneau, located 1200 kilometers away. At a distance of 4 kilometers from the epicenter, the ash layer reached 20 meters. Summer in Alaska turned out to be very cold, as the rays could not break through the cloud. After all, thirty billion tons of rocks were understood into the air! In the crater itself, a lake with a diameter of 1.5 kilometers was formed, and it became the main attraction of the Katmai National Park and Reserve that was formed here in 1980. Today, the height of this active volcano is 2,047 meters, and the last known eruption occurred in 1921.