The planet’s largest volcanoes

Top 12 tallest volcanoes on the planet

Volcanoes have been active in shaping the earth’s surface for millions of years, and the word itself came to us from the mythology of ancient Rome. The Roman God of fire was called Vulcan, and he patronized, like the ancient Greek Hephaestus, blacksmiths and casters. Volcanoes vary in shape, frequency, and type of eruption, and at the bottom of this article you can see all of these objects on an interactive world map. But in this article, let’s look at the largest, and find out which is the tallest volcano in the world. Let’s focus only on the continents, not taking into account underwater volcanic formations.

Ojos del Salado (6,887m).

Ojos del Salado.

In the Chilean Andes, near the border between neighboring Chile and Argentina is the highest volcano on our planet, which is 6,887 m high.

It is also unique because on its eastern slope at a height of 6,390 m there is a mirror of the highest lake in the world. The Incas considered the mountain sacred, and on its slopes were investigated many ancient sanctuaries. It is considered extinct because scientists have not recorded a single eruption since its discovery.

The first climber from Poland felt the joy of success conquering the top in 1937, and in 2007 the motorcyclist Gonzalo Bravo on a Japanese motorcycle concern “Suzuki” reached the mark of 6,688 m. The summit had only 199m to go.

Llullaillaco (6,739m)


On the beautiful plateau of Puna de Atacama, among the vast expanses of the Atacama Desert, rises the highest of the currently active volcanoes.

It was formed during the Pleistocene and is 6,739 meters high. The last time it frightened residents with an eruption was in 1877, and now the volcano in South America only emits gases from the surface, being in the solfataric stage. The most powerful volcano in the world is Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, and Llullaillaco holds the second place of honor.

Inca burial grounds.

At the top in 1999, archaeologists discovered and studied the unique Inca burials of children. Everything points to the ritual nature of the ancient burials and the fact that the teenagers were sacrificed to the gods.

Note, our website has a fascinating article about seven active supervolcanoes that may erupt soon.

San Pedro (6,092m).

San Pedro

In the heart of the Central Andes rises the active San Pedro, 6,145 m above sea level. Just nearby is its twin brother volcano, San Pablo, 6,092 m high.

San Pedro disturbed residents of the surrounding villages and the town of Calama in 1960. To this day, seismographs have not recorded a single eruption. From the other peaks of the central Andes is separated by a large saddle.

Described was in the XVIII century, and the first ascent made by the Frenchman George Corti, and the guide was a local resident Filemon Morales in 1903. After their ascent, climbers established new routes to the peak of the beautiful Chilean mountain.

Cotopaxi (5,897m)


Cotopaxi, towering over the expanse of Ecuador, continues the list. It is 5,897 m high and the crater is more than 450 m deep.

It is nestled on the western ridge of the Eastern Cordillera. The first recorded eruption occurred in 1534, and the last time Cotopaxi shook its surroundings was in 2015. But the most devastating eruption, according to historical sources, was in 1768.

The name of the volcano in the Quechua Indian language translates as “Shining Mountain. Another version is “Smoky Mountain,” but both names accurately convey the essence of the geological object of the planet.

Kilimanjaro (5,885 m).


From Latin America will take you to Africa to see photos of the mountain, which rightfully takes its honorable place in the Top 10 largest volcanoes in the world.

The highest stratovolcano of the African continent is located in Tanzania, and its height of 5 885 m the snow-capped peaks of the mountain were marked even on the map of Ptolemy in the II century BC.

Scientists suggest that the name of the majestic Kilimanjaro in Swahili literally means the mountain that sparkles. Tourists are amazed by the almost conical shape and the flora and fauna at the foot and slopes of the volcano.

El Misti (5,882 m).


In winter, the top of Peru’s Misti is covered with a snow-white cap that sparkles in the rays of the southern sun. The height of the volcano, which locals also call El Misti, is 5,882 meters.

At the foot of the river flows Chile. The Misty is an active volcano, and the last small eruption was recorded in 1985. Climbing to the peak, you can see that it has three craters.

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White City and Volcano

In the nearby town of Arequipa, many buildings are built of volcanic deposits of white, which is why the beautiful city is called the “White City”. An eruption in the mid-15th century forced the residents of Arequipa to abandon their beautiful white houses.

By the way, we advise you to admire the amazing photos of volcanic eruptions by Francisco Negroni, you can see them at in this article.

Orisaba (5,675 m).


The second name of the volcano of the Mexican highlands Sitlaltepetl, which has its roots in the ancient mythology of the Aztec tribes. The mountain is 5,675 meters high, and it is the highest mountain peak in the Central American country.

The last time an eruption was recorded back in 1687, but it continues to be considered an active volcano that could wake up at any time.

In 1848, climbers and explorers F. Maynard and W. Reynolds made the first ascent to Orisaba, describing the structure, flora and fauna of its slopes.

Elbrus (5,621m).


The highest point in the expanses of Russia spreads out among the amazing peaks of the North Caucasus. The peak is divided into two peaks, the Eastern peak at 5,621 m and the Western peak at 5,642 m.

It is considered the highest in Europe, and the last time it erupted, according to geologists, was around 50 B.C. Stratovolcano, which was formed about 2-3 million years ago, is used for mountain climbing competitions.

Mount Elbrus

At the foot and on the slopes of Mount Elbrus stretches a network of mountain shelters, tourist bases and hotels. There are hiking trails and ropeways for easy access.

Popocatepetl (5,426 m)


The smoky hill! This is how the name of the volcano is translated from the Nahuatl language, located in Mexico. It is the second highest mountain in this country and its peak is 5,426 m above sea level.

The mountain is named by one of the heroes of a Mexican epic, and the Aztecs worshipped it as a majestic deity. Popocatépetl is surrounded by 20 million inhabitants, making up a huge agglomeration of two Mexican states and the capital, Mexico City.

The Spanish conquistador Diego de Ordas, after being the first to conquer the top of Popocatepetl, commanded to place its contours on his family coat of arms.

Sangay (5,320m).


The amazing Sangay, located in Ecuador, has three craters. It is 5,320 m high, and in shape and type it is a stratovolcano.

Geologists, having studied the materials, have determined its age at about 14 thousand years. Historical documents say that the first recorded eruption was in 1628.

Sangai is located in the national park of the same name in Ecuador. The last eruption was in 2016, which resulted in the evacuation of people from nearby settlements. In total, since 1937, there have been more than 10 eruptions of varying strength and power.

Nevado del Tolima (5,512 m).


In Colombia, above the green hills of Los Nevados National Natural Park, rises a volcano with the romantic name of Tolima. Its height is 5,512 m, and it is the highest mountain in this Latin American country.

It was finally formed during the last 40 thousand years. About 3,600 years ago the largest eruption of Tolima occurred, and the last recorded emission of lava and gases in 1943. Tourists begin their way to the beautiful mountain from the town of Ibage, from which there are several hiking trails.

Around the beautiful mountaintop, at the foot, are several village settlements and vast green pastures.

Kliuchevskaya Sopka (4,835 m)

Kliuchevskaya Sopka

On the Kamchatka Peninsula is the highest active volcano in Eurasia, which is 7,000 years old. But on another peninsula of Russia, in Crimea, is the oldest volcano in the world, Karadag.

Because of the frequent eruptions, its height is constantly changing. After the last eruption, which occurred in August 2013, geologists recorded the height at 4,835 meters.

In a nearby village called Klyuchi, a volcanic research station was formed, whose staff constantly monitor the amazing mountain object of Asia.

Mauna Kea (4,205 m)

Mauna Kea

We couldn’t help mentioning another record-breaker that not many people know about. However, Mauna Kea is not only the highest volcano on Earth, but also the highest of all mountain formations on the planet.

Located this shield volcano in Hawaii. Its age is estimated at 1 million years, and the last eruption happened about 4.5 thousand years ago.

So why is it with a height of 4205 meters turned out to be a record-breaker? Let’s try to figure it out. The fact is that at 4205 meters it rises above sea level, but most of it is hidden under water. If you measure Mauna Kea from foot to top, then its height is about 10 kilometers! That’s more than the height of the highest mountain, Everest.

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And we also highly recommend you watch a great video of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano eruption taken in 2018:

Want us to do a good report on the beauty of Hawaii’s mountains, write about it in the comments. often draws article topics from comments!


The largest volcano in the world

Here we have learned where the largest volcano in the world is located. Today, there are more than 1,500 volcanoes on the surface of the planet in different parts of it, and the question of which country has the most volcanoes, we answer – in the United States. There are 176 of them in the United States, but for some reason they call Iceland “the country of volcanoes”. To summarize, any eruption is classified as a natural disaster, because the boiling lava that bursts to the surface poses a deadly threat to all life.

And here, as promised, is an interactive map with the geographical objects described in the article.

The 12 highest and most active active active volcanoes in the world

Undoubtedly, active volcanoes of the world are one of the most fascinating and beautiful and at the same time terrifying natural phenomena. These geological formations have played a key role in the process of Earth’s formation. Thousands of years ago there were a huge number of them all over the planet.

Today, there are few volcanoes that are still active. Some of them are frightening, fascinating and at the same time destroy entire settlements. Let’s figure out where the most famous active volcanoes are located.


Typical stratovolcano (has a layered, conical shape) 6,739 m high. It is located on the border of Chile and Argentina.

Such a complicated name can be interpreted in different ways:

  • “water that can’t be found in spite of a long search.”
  • “a soft mass that becomes hard.”

On the side of the Chilean state at the foot of the volcano is a national park with a similar name – Llullaillaco, so the surroundings of the mountain are very picturesque. While climbing to the summit, tourists meet donkeys, many species of birds and guanacos living in the wild.

Climbing to the crater can be two routes:

  • Northern – duration 4.6 km, the road is suitable for travel by car;
  • The southern route is 5 km long.

If you intend to walk, take special shoes and an ice axe with you, as there are snowy areas along the way.

Interesting fact! During the first ascent in 1952, an ancient Inca vault was discovered on the mountain, and in 1999, a mummy of a girl and a boy was found near the crater. According to scientists, they were ritual victims.

The strongest eruptions recorded three times – in 1854 and 1866. The last eruption of an active volcano happened in 1877.

San Pedro

The 6,145-meter-high giant is located in the Andes, in northern Chile near Bolivia on the Western Cordillera. The peak of the volcano towers over Loa, Chile’s longest body of water.

San Pedro is on the list of the highest active volcanoes. It was first possible to ascend to the crater in 1903. Today it is a unique attraction in Chile, which attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. In the XX century, the volcano reminded himself 7 times, the last time in 1960. For more than half a century, San Pedro resembles a bubbling cauldron, which at any time can explode. There are signs at the foot that warn that climbing to the crater is possible only with a mask to protect against toxic emissions.

  • San Pedro is one of only a handful of giant volcanoes that have remained active to this day. Many giants are recognized as extinct.
  • San Pedro’s neighbor is San Pablo Volcano. It is located to the east and is 6,150 meters high. The two mountains are connected by a high saddle.
  • The people of Chile tell many legends associated with the San Pedro volcano, as each eruption in the past was considered a heavenly sign and had mystical significance.
  • For descendants of migrants from Spain and local natives, the volcano is a source of constant and considerable income.

El Misti

Of all the active volcanoes in the world on the map, this one is rightly considered the most beautiful. Its peak is sometimes covered with snow. The mountain is located near the city of Arequipa, its height is 5822 meters. The volcano is remarkable because on top there are two craters with a diameter of almost 1 km and 550m.

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There are unusual parabolic dunes on the slopes. They appeared as a result of constant winds between El Misti and Mount Cerro Tacune, they stretch for 20 km.

The first active action of the volcano was recorded during the resettlement of Europeans to Latin America. The strongest and most devastating catastrophe occurred in 1438. In the XX century the volcano showed activity of various degrees several times:

  • In 1948, for six months;
  • In 1959;
  • In 1985, steam eruptions were observed.

Scientists in Peru several years ago concluded that the seismic activity of the volcano is gradually increasing. This leads to earthquakes, which are not uncommon in the area. Given that El Misti is located near a major settlement in Peru, this makes it quite a dangerous active volcano.


Located in Mexico, the highest point reaches 5500 m above sea level. In the territory of the state it is the second highest mountain peak.

The Aztecs believed that worshiping the volcano gave rain, so they regularly brought offerings here.

Popocatepetl is dangerous because of the many cities built around it:

  • the state capitals of Puebla and Tlaxcal;
  • the cities of Mexico City and Cholula.

According to scientists, the volcano has erupted more than three dozen times in its history. The last eruption was recorded in May 2013. At the time of the disaster, the airport of the city of Puebla closed and the streets were covered with ash. Despite the hidden danger, thousands of tourists from around the world come to the volcano every year to admire the scenery, listen to the legend, and enjoy the majesty of the mountain.

Sangai Volcano

Among the ten active volcanoes that are the most powerful in the world, by right, is Sangai. The mountain is located in South America, its height is 5230 meters. In translation, the name of the volcano means “inspiring fear” and this quite reflects its behavior – eruptions here are a frequent phenomenon, and sometimes rocks weighing 1 ton fall from the sky. At the top of the mountain, covered with eternal snows, there are three craters with a diameter of 50 to 100 meters.

The age of the volcano is about 14 thousand years, the giant has been especially active in recent decades. One of the most destructive activity recorded in 2006, the eruption lasted more than a year.

The first ascent took almost 1 month, today tourists travel comfortably in a car, the final part of the way people overcome on mules. The road takes a few days. In general, the journey is estimated as quite difficult, so climb to the crater, few dare. Tourists who have conquered the mountain, feel the persistent smell of sulfur and are surrounded by smoke. As a reward, the summit offers an amazing landscape.

The volcano is surrounded by Sangai National Park, which covers more than 500 hectares. In 1992, UNESCO put the park on the list of sites that are in danger of extinction. However, in 2005 the site was removed from the list.

Interesting fact! Three of the highest volcanoes in Ecuador – Sangay, Tungurahua, and El Altar – are located in the park area.

Kluchevskaya Sopka.

The volcano is the highest on the Eurasian mainland at 4,750 meters, and it is over 7,000 years old. Kliuchevskaya Sopka is situated in the central part of Kamchatka, there are a few more volcanoes nearby. The height of the giant increases after each eruption. There are more than 80 side craters on the slopes, so several lava flows form during eruptions.

The volcano is one of the most active in the world, and declares itself regularly, about once every 3-5 years. The duration of each activity reaches several months. The first one happened in 1737. During 2016 the volcano showed activity 55 times.

The most serious catastrophe was recorded in 1938, its duration – 13 months. The cataclysm resulted in the formation of a 5 km long fissure. In 1945 the eruption was accompanied by a serious rockfall. And in 1974 active actions of Kliuchevskaya Sopka led to explosion of glacier.

During the 1984-1987 eruption a new summit was formed, and ash emissions rose to 15 km. In 2002 the volcano became more active, the highest activity was recorded in 2005 and 2009. By 2010, the height of the mountain exceeded 5 km. In the spring of 2016, another eruption took place over several weeks, accompanied by earthquakes, lava flows, and ash emissions up to 11 km high.

Mauna Loa

The eruption of this huge volcano can be seen from anywhere in Hawaii. Mauna Loa is in an archipelago formed by volcanic activity. Its height is 4169 meters. Feature – the crater is not round, so the distance from one edge to the other varies from 3 to 5 km. The inhabitants of the island call the mountain “Long.

For your information. Many guides on the island lead tourists to the volcano Mauna Kea. It really is slightly higher than Mauna Loa, but in contrast to the latter is already extinct. So be sure to specify which volcano you want to see.

Mauna Loa is 700 thousand years old, of which 300 thousand years it was under water. Record the active actions of the volcano began only in the first half of the XIX century. During this time, he reminded himself more than 30 times. With each eruption the size of the giant is increasing.

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The most devastating disasters occurred in 1926 and 1950. The volcano destroyed several villages and a town. And the eruption in 1935 was reminiscent of the plot of the legendary Soviet film “The Crew.” The last activity was recorded in 1984, with lava pouring out of the crater for 3 weeks. In 2013, there were several earthquakes, which indicate that the volcano may soon show what it can do again.

It’s safe to say that Mauna Loa is where scientists are most interested. According to seismologists, the volcano (one of the few in the world) will erupt continuously for another million years.


Located in the republic of the same name, on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea. This is the highest point of the state – 4040 meters. The foot of the mountain and its lower part is covered with tropical forests, at the top there is no vegetation, there is a small amount of snow.

On the territory of West Africa it is the most active volcano of all the active on the continent. Over the past century, the giant has manifested itself eight times. Each eruption resembles an explosion. The first mentions of the catastrophe date back to the 5th century BC. In 1922, the volcanic lava reached the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The last eruption occurred in 2000.

Useful to know! The best time to climb is December or January. In February there is an annual competition – “Race of Hope. Thousands of participants climb to the top, competing in speed.


The highest volcano on the territory of Indonesia (its height reaches 3 km 800 meters) and the highest point of Sumatra. It is located in the central part of the island, south of the city of Padang. Not far from the volcano is Keinchi Seblat Park, which has national status.

The crater is more than 600 meters deep and has a lake in its northeastern part. A strong eruption was recorded in 2004, when a column of ash and smoke rose to 1 km. The last serious catastrophe was recorded in 2009, and in 2011 the volcano activity was felt in the form of characteristic tremors.

In the summer of 2013, the volcano threw an ash column 800 meters high. Residents of nearby settlements hurriedly packed their belongings and evacuated. The ash colored the sky gray, and the smell of sulfur was in the air. After only 30 minutes, several villages were covered with a thick layer of ash. The tea plantations near the volcano, which were also affected by the disaster, were a cause for concern. Fortunately after the event there was heavy rain, and the effects of the eruption was washed away.

This is interesting! The ascent to the crater takes 2 to 3 days. The route is through dense forests, most of the time the road is slippery. To overcome the path will require the help of a guide. In history, there have been cases where travelers were lost, setting out on their own. The best place to start climbing is in the village of Kersik Tua.


Active volcanoes on every continent (except Australia) attract scientists and tourists. Even in Antarctica there is one of them – Erebus. This volcano is located to the south of other objects, which are the object of research by seismologists. The height of the mountain is 3 km 794 m, and the size of the crater is just over 800 m.

The volcano has been active since the end of the last century, then the state of New Mexico opened a station, its staff monitors its activity. A unique phenomenon of Erebus is the lava lake.

The object is named after the god Erebus. The mountain is located in a fault zone, which is why the volcano is recognized as one of the most active in the world. The released gases cause serious damage to the ozone layer. Scientists note that this is where the thinnest layer of ozone is found.

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Volcanic eruptions occur in the form of explosions, the lava is thick, solidifies quickly and does not have time to spread over large areas.

The main danger is ash, which makes air travel difficult because visibility is dramatically reduced. The mud flow is also dangerous, as it moves at high speed and escape from it is almost impossible.

Erebus is an amazing natural creation – formidable, magical and fascinating. The lake in the crater attracts a special mystery.

It is located in Sicily, in the Mediterranean Sea. With a height of 3329 meters it can not be attributed to the highest active volcanoes in the world, but can be surely enrolled in the most active. After each eruption the height increases slightly. In Europe it is the largest volcano, its peak is always decorated with a snow cap. The volcano has four central cones and about 400 side cones.

The first activity dates back to 1226 BC. The most terrible eruption happened in 44 BC, it was so strong that the ash completely covered the sky over the capital of Italy and destroyed crops on the Mediterranean coast. Etna is no less dangerous today than it was in prehistoric times. The last eruption took place in the spring of 2008 and lasted almost 420 days.

The volcano is attractive for its variety of vegetation, with palms, cacti, pines, agaves, spruces, biscus, fruit trees and vineyards. Some plants are characteristic only of Etna – stone tree, Etna violet. Numerous myths and legends are associated with the volcano and the mountain.


On the territory of the Hawaiian Islands, this is the most active volcano (although far from being the highest in the world). In Hawaiian Kilauea means strongly erupting. It has been erupting continuously since 1983.

Located in the Volcano National Park, its height is only 1 km 247 meters, but his insignificant growth it makes up for its activity. Kilauea volcano appeared 25 thousand years ago, the diameter of the caldera is considered one of the largest in the world – about 4.5 km.

Interesting! According to legend, the volcano is the place of residence of the goddess Pele (goddess of volcanoes). Her tears are individual drops of lava, and her hair – streams of lava.

The Puuoo lava lake, which is located in the crater, is an amazing sight. The molten rock bubbles restlessly, creating amazing ripples on the surface. It is dangerous to be near this natural phenomenon, as fiery lava rises to a height of 500 meters.

In addition to the lake one can admire the cave of natural origin. Its length is more than 60 km. The ceiling of the cave is decorated with stalactites. Tourists note that the walk through the cave reminds one of a flight to the moon.

In 1990 volcanic lava has completely destroyed the village, the thickness of the lava layer was from 15 to 25 meters. In 25 years the volcano destroyed almost 130 houses, destroyed 15 km of road, and the lava covered an area of 120 km.

The whole world watched the most powerful eruption of Kilauea in 2014. The eruption was accompanied by periodic earthquakes. Huge volumes of lava destroyed residential homes and active farms. Nearby settlements were evacuated, but not all residents were willing to leave their homes.

Which continent has no active volcanoes

There are no extinct or active volcanoes in Australia. This is because the mainland is located far from the crustal faults and volcanic lava does not exit to the surface.

The opposite of Australia is Japan – the country is located in the most dangerous tectonic zone. Four tectonic plates collide here.

Active volcanoes of the world – an amazing and frightening natural phenomenon. Every year in the world there are 60 to 80 eruptions on different continents.

The 12 active volcanoes discussed in this article are marked on a world map.

Eruption, which managed to shoot a video.

Author: Julia Matyukhina

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