Volcanoes are some of the most amazing natural formations in the world. When these sleeping powerhouses wake up they can literally blow their tops. As the ash and lava settles, any damage and destruction the eruption has left behind can be evaluated. In ideal circumstances, people and structures are protected at a safe distance and the firey beauty of the volcanic eruption can be observed, filmed and photographed.
Kilauea: A Name That Just Spews Confidence
Considered by most to be the world's most active volcano,Mt. Kilauea in Hawaiicertainly lives up to its name. Meaning "spewing" or "much spreading," Kilauea has been continually erupting since early 1983. Not including its current activity, Mt. Kilauea has erupted 33 times since 1952, leaving lava trails and spectacular images in the process.
Timing Is Everything with Chile's Chaiten Volcano
Located in the Gulf of Corcovado in Southern Chile, the Chaiten Volcano is currently in an eruptive phase that began in early May 2008. According to some researchers, the Chaiten Volcano last erupted in 7420 B.C. (+/-75 years). Not only has the Chaiten Volcano woke from its slumber, it's gone off at some quite interesting times. Note the captivating photos showing the volcano letting out some stress during the middle of a thunderstorm.
On March 19, 2009, a submarine volcano near Tonga in the South Pacific Oceanbegan shooting smoke, steam and ash into the air. Taking place between the twin islandsof Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai, the appropriately named Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano was so powerful that it created a new land surface. While it thankfully did not put any lives at risk during its eruption, the volcano did leave Hunga Ha'apai covered in black ash.
Smoker's Delight: Mount Etna in Sicily
With a summit elevation of 10,922 feet, Mount Etna is one of the largest active volcanoes in Europeand helps define the natural beauty of Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Believed to be the oldest active volcano in the world, Mt. Etna has erupted a handful of times this decade. In the 1970s and earlier this decade, Etna erupted smoke rings, an extremely rare event.
"The Perfect Cone": The Mayon Volcano in the Philippines
Renowned for its almost perfect conical shape and overall beauty, Mount Mayon is located on the Philippine island of Luzon. The Mayon Volcano has erupted nearly 50 times in the last 400 years. One of its more famous eruptions occurred in June 1897, when the Mayon Volcano rained fire for seven straight days.
Hell's Bells: Iceland's Hekla
While not the largest formation around at 4,892 feet, the stratovolcano Hekla has certainly intimidated Icelanders, who have dubbed it the "Gateway to Hell" since the Middle Ages. Hekla has erupted more than 20 times since the year 874, which is pretty modest when compared to other volcanoes in this article. Its last eruption was in February 2000.