The strong earthquake swarm that started this week near Grindavik on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula is caused by magma forming a dike – a vertical fissure-shaped intrusion at shallow depth, which allows the magma to rise and get closer to an eruption. This now threatens one of Iceland’s most important tourism regions and is home to the iconic Blue Lagoon Resort. Civil Protection just declared a Level Orange emergency, and residents of Grindavík were told to evacuate.
I was recently in Iceland and personally witnessed over 2,000 strong earthquakes during my visit, which resulted in roads being blocked by falling lava rock and massive cracks forming on the main highway. The famed Blue Lagoon Resort, where I was staying, had to close many of the lagoons to tourists to avoid possible rocks. Ultimately, the resort decided to close when guests began to flee following larger earthquakes.
In Italy, a “super volcano” is the most dangerous volcanic threat in the country. The area of Campi Flegrei is located under the bay of Naples and the islands of Capri and Ischia to the outskirts of the city of Naples. An estimated 3 million residents of Naples live immediately near the edge of the volcano zone, and evacuation routes are currently being planned in the area.
According to Volcano Discovery, “the famed Mt Etna volcano in Italy shows clear signs that it is no longer in a deep slumber and might wake up with a more aggressive phase of eruptions at any time. With occasional, mild strombolian explosions from the SE crater this week, indications are that magma inside remains high.”
They add, “In many cases, such activity has been prelude for violent lava-fountaining episodes known as paroxysms, such as last in August this year. The onset of these is usually characterized by increasing strombolian activity along with a rise in volcanic tremor, first increasing gradually over hours or days, then very sharply during few minutes until reaching impressive peaks of violent activity.”
Experts are now warning about other volcanoes around the world that are posing a significant threat and believe a warming planet due to human-induced climate change is likely to contribute to the rise of volcanoes erupting. There are currently 46 volcanoes in continuing eruption status as of 11 October 2023, according to Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, “There are typically 40-50 continuing eruptions, and out of those generally around 20 will be actively erupting on any particular day.”
Among the most active areas in the world, Indonesia leads the pack with seven eruptions happening. Other high-activity areas include Russia, Papua New Guinea, Japan, and even the United States, which has two active volcanos.
The following are the most active and restless volcanoes in the world today, according to volcanologist Dr. Tom Pfeiffer at Volcano Study, including volcanoes we should watch out for.
*Reykjanes volcano (Grindivak, Iceland) *Eruption warning
Region of Grindivak near the major Reykjavik Airport is currently under an evacuation order. There are now three live streaming web cameras pointing to three potential eruption onset sites.
1. Svartsengi from Þorbirn – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSedx7dUVZI
2. Sylingarfell – South – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvw5qh5K4wI
3. Sylingarfell – North – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgLe12KRLWw
Campi Flegrei (Naples, Italy) *unrest, new activity
This Phlegrean Fields volcano is located near Naples and under the islands of Capri and Ischia.
São Jorge volcano (Portugal) *unrest, new activity
Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy)
Etna (Sicily, Italy)
Mt. Michael (British Territory)
*Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano (Tanzania) *Eruption warning
Ol Doinyo Lengai, a cone with two craters is considered by the Massai people, to be the home of God, which is also the meaning of the name. When it erupts it has an unusual, cold liquid lava.
Karthala (Comores, Indian Ocean) *unrest, new activity
Barren Island (Indian Ocean) *unrest, new activity
Erta Ale (Danakil depression, Ethiopia)
With more than 13,000 islands, Indonesia leads the world with the largest number of active volcanoes. The areas volcanoes have also produced the most fatalities.
*Karangatang (Indonesia) *Eruption warning
*Krakatau (Indonesia) *Eruption warning
Kerinci (Indonesia) *unrest, new activity
Inielika Volcano (Indonesia) *unrest, new activity
Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia)
Dukono (Halmahera, Indonesia)
Ibu (Halmahera, Indonesia)
Merapi (Central Java, Indonesia)
Semeru (East Java, Indonesia)
Lewotolo (Lesser Sunda Islands)
Mexico, Central America, Caribbean
*Rincón de la Vieja volcano (Costa Rica) *Eruption warning
The largest and most active volcano in Costa Rica. It last erupted in 2021.
Popocatépetl (Central Mexico)
Soufrière St. Vincent (West Indies, St. Vincent)
*Ubinas Volcano (Peru) *Eruption warning
Laguna del Maule volcano (Central Chile) *Unrest
Puracé volcano (Colombia) *Unrest
Cerro Negro de Mayasquer volcano (Colombia) *Unrest
Nevados de Chillán (Central Chile)
Villarrica volcano (Central Chile)
Nevado del Ruiz volcano (Colombia)
Erebus is among the most inhospitable and remote location of any active volcano in the world. It is famous for its active boiling lava lake.
*Great Sitkin volcano (Aleutian Islands) *Eruption warning
*Shishaldin volcano (Aleutian Islands) *Eruption warning
Kilauea (Hawai’i) *Unrest
Bogoslof volcano (Aleutian Islands) *Unrest
Trident Volcano (Alaska) *Unrest
*Klyuchevskoy volcano (Kamchatkka) *eruption warning
Ebeko (Paramushir Island, Kuril Islands)
Bezimianny (Central Kamchatka)
*Bagana Volcano (Papua New Guinea) *Eruption warning
Uluwan Volcano (Papua New Guinea) *unrest and new activity
Aoba Volcano (Vanuatu) *unrest and new activity
White Island (New Zealand) *unrest and new activity
Tofua Volcano (Tonga) *unrest and new activity
Home Reef (Tonga)
*Suwanose Jima (Japan) *Eruption warning
Kirishima (Japan) *unrest and new activity
Aso Volcano (Japan) *unrest and new activity
Nishino-Shima (Japan) *unrest and new activity
Kikai (Japan) *unrest and new activity
Kuchinoerabu-jima (Japan) *unrest and new activity
Sakura-jima (Kyushu, Japan)
Iwu-jima (Bonin Islands, Japan)
Heard Volcano (Australia) *unrest and new activity
Canlaon (Central Philippines) *unrest, new activity
Bulusan (Luzon Island) *unrest, new activity
Taal (Luzon Island)
Pinatubo (Luzon Island)
Mayon (Luzon Island)