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Hmm, what if we moved this to Visiting volcanoes or something like that? I saw the article listed in recent changes and thought it was going to be a wikipedia-type entry or something about Volcanoes National Forest. Or am I just being weird about this? (WT-en) Majnoona 19:03, 3 Nov 2004 (EST)

I wondered about it when I made it. The reason I didn't choose Visiting volanoes was that it doesn't work for the Architecture article (Visiting architecture?). We don't have to have some kind of generic phrase for all of them, but it would kind of nice. I just can't think of one. Anyway, no objections to you moving the page if you like Visiting volcanoes better. -- (WT-en) Hypatia 19:51, 3 Nov 2004 (EST)



I find the article really useful, and a good way to give the growing number of people interested in visitng a "live" volcano an orientation about what to think of in the preparation phase. To create a new section / new page about just that topic would look like a good idea. As volcanologist myself, and tour organizer, I added or modified a few parts of the text. Best greetings, Tom Pfeiffer, volcanologist (

I've removed the following from the article because the text has a few errors in the safety department that makes me wonder if the person who wrote it really knew what they were talking about. (Example: even dormant volcanos like Mammoth Mountain can emit deadly vapors like CO which can kill you without warning. No warning that "local experts" may only have experience with their local volcano and may underestimate risk. Type of eruption is misleading; it's the type of volcano that matters.)

I'll leave the text here in case anyone wants to use it as a basis for a new preparations or safety text. -- (WT-en) Colin 21:31, 3 Nov 2004 (EST)

Dear Colin,

First of all I strongly support to provide as much interesting and relevant info on visiting volcanoes as possible on your site. Unfortunately the "Visiting Volcanoes" section seems to be non-existent. Please do revive this and let us provide some useful stuff to potential volcano visitors.

I don't think it is fruitful to have a discussion here on what is "dormant" or "active". And yes, in exceptional situations a dormant volcano could pose a threat as well. How academic and/or precise do you want a contribution to be? And on what basis do you disqualify "local experts"? Have you ever worked together with volcanologists of i.e. the Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO), the OVSICORI in Costa Rica, the INGV in Italy or PHIVOLCS in the Philippines? Any bad experiences? And yes I agree if you want to state that an eruption of i.e. a shield type volcano is less violent than of i.e. an andesitic stratovolcano. You could consider that relevant in selecting the volcano you want to visit. But what really matters is that a visitor should know about the actual eruptive situation because that is what causes actual (in)direct threats. Feel free to contribute to this safety discussion. After all, the visitor of this section can learn from it.

Cheers, Markus Wamsteeker,

Preparations and Safety go hand-in-hand.
  • First of all there are roughly three states of a volcano: "extinct", "dormant" and "active" volcanoes, but the distinction is not always very clear, because sometimes dormant volcanoes can come back to life quite unexpectedly and most geologist define an active volcano as a volcano that has had eruptions within historic times (which might be thousands of years ago) and is likely to erupt in the future (even within thousands of years) again... More commonly, people talk of an active volcano of one that is having an eruption, or could have one within a rather short span of time... Before we go on to discuss safety issues connected to volcanic activity in some detail, let´s underline that ALL volcanoes require the same preparations as a "normal" hill or mountain. In fact, the mountainous character of a volcano is often underestimated: for example, most of the (few) accidents on the popular (active) volcanoes Stromboli and Etna in Italy have resulted from sudden changes of weather, such as lightning strikes and misorientation.

Active volcanoes should be approached with care and some extra preparations should be taken, which depend basically on the level of activity and the kind of activity, as well as on where you want to go to observe this activity. The kind of activity can differ from tremors ("seismic activity") you hardly sense to "fumaroles" (steam or gases coming out of wholes or cracks) to emission of lava flows (like on Hawaii or, sometimes, on Etna), small explosive events that throw glowing stones to a few tens or hundreds of meters, or even to realla devastating activity that would kill anyone near the volcano within a radius of several miles...Clearly, the level of risk differs strongly depending on the type of eruption (only spattering on a small scale or huge explosive activity with ash columns of several kms height and/or launching of a rain of stones and car size blocks), the level of activity and side effects like mudflows ("lahars"), toxic gas clouds or avalanches caused by the collapse of (a part) of a lava dome or crater rim (the latter phenomena are known as the most dangerous ones, a "pyroclastic cloud",- a cloud of ash and gas particles with a temperature of 400 to 700 degrees celsius, running down the hill up to 100km/h. You'll burn in an instant).

The topic is very complex and every volcano is different and has its own typical style of eruption with its associated risks. For example, visiting Kilauea, you are likely to encounter lots of steady, relatively harmless lava flows, but you could bring yourself into danger if you were to go too close to the areas where such lava flows are flowing into the sea, mainly because of the toxic steam clouds generated there, and the risk of collapse of the new unstable lava delta. Visiting Popocatepetl in Mexico, a typically explosive volcano, would be life-threatening, if you were to climb up to its rim (forbidden at the moment, by the way), because it might very well covery you with large stones... But you can watch these (moderate to small) explosive eruptions in good safety from below, i.e. many miles away. To cover this topic comprehensively would exceed many pages. I strongly recommend the new book by Dr. Rosaly Lopey "The Volcano Adventure Guide", (Hardcover, 362 pages, Cambridge University Press, 2005) - It contains vital information for anyone wishing to visit, explore, and photograph active volcanoes safely and enjoyably. Following an introduction that discusses eruption styles of different types of volcanoes, how to prepare for a volcano trip, and how to avoid volcanic dangers, the book presents guides to visiting 42 different volcanoes around the world.

  • Never go to an active volcano without reliable experts coming along! To stress out, you should be with someone who knows the particular mountain.
  • Having said this, the advise is to collect as much info on a volcano or volcanic region as possible via internet and reliable local sources like Volcanic Observatories who monitor the volcanoes on a daily basis. A good starting point are websites like "Stromboli Online" ( or the "USGS - U.S. Geological Survey, Volcanoes Hazards Program" (
They can also help you with info on active volcanoes and destinations.
  • Apart from getting aware of the risks involved and finding reliable guidance, you also need a few specific things on your luggage checklist. Hereby a have an active, eruptive volcano in mind with significant height (sub-alpine or alpine although some of 'm lie in a desert or are "a walk in the park"), so this is your "worst-case-volcano"-list (I would say "best case" ;-)
--strong/high mountain boots with strong rubber sole (best are Vibram soles,- they do not melt ;-) easily...)
--telescopic walking sticks if you cross instable lava fields
--working gloves (lava is very sharp!!!)
--dust mask in case of ash clouds/fall out - you should actually alway try to avoid tthat by being extremely careful as to where the wind is blowing!
--gas mask against an-organic gases
--helmet, but don't think a helmet will protect you too much in case of a larger block falling on you, so be careful even with a helmet.
--safety specs
--headlight (Petzl)
--and lots of film or flash cards and batteries ;-)
--a whistle in case you need help
  • More on this and preparation can be obtained via the people of GOMAGMA ( or the team of Stromboli Online ( and VolcanoDiscovery ( They also provide tours, hiking, safari, climbing to the volcanoes of Italy, Greece, Hawaii, Indonesia, Tanzania, Chile, Nicaragua and many more to come.

Devils Tower[edit]

I'm not sure if this belongs in the article or not, but those interested in volcanoes may also be interested in Devils Tower or other places like it. Do these have a place here, or do you think they'd become clutter? (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 21:38, 10 May 2010 (EDT)

I am not sure that Devil's Tower or any other geological features which were formed by volcanic activity belong here. I would interpret this article as being about active volcanoes. There could be a place though for a travel topic dealing with extraordinary geological features - Devils Tower, Giant's Causeway, the Australian monoliths etc. --(WT-en) Burmesedays 21:59, 10 May 2010 (EDT)
Some of that sort of thing is covered at UNESCO Global Geoparks Network. Pashley (talk) 16:23, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

Posts here[edit]

I realise that the posts here are from 3 years ago or longer, but I find the assumption implicit in the text and subsidiary articles about specific volcanoes that anyone might want to climb volcanoes seems a bit foolhardy - and as if volcano guides/tour persons have had an easy leash here in the past in regards to spruiking their business - any thoughts from anyone else as to whether some of the dated information being replaced with a more generic comment re climbing volcanoes ?? sats (talk) 10:45, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure I completely understand what you mean, but there are some dead and dormant volcanoes that are fine to climb, and there are also places like Volcanoes National Park in the Big Island of Hawaii, where you can safely hike through a recent (1959) lava field and watch Mt. Kilauea bubble from a safe distance. No tour guides are needed to do either of those things, by the way. What you need a tour guide for is to walk right up to the flowing lava. I haven't done that, and it's against regulations, but I know people who have done it, and it's interesting but dangerous - not for the reasons you'd think, but because the new lava is like sharp glass to walk over, and if you fall, you get cut up. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:06, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
wow that sounds amazing. I am wondering if this is a bit like dangerous sports - at what points do we put things in or allow spruiking for businesses that may well be working on truly dormant volcanoes, or simply articles not maintained very well that have redundant information. Maybe this should be at a more general talk page re dangerous issues and points of disclaimers and or whether certain activities ar enot canvassed at all ?? sats (talk) 11:33, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure if volcanoes are really 'dangerous sports'. I may be wrong, but having visited a few myself (in Colombia, Caribbean and Indonesia) I get the impression that these are generally predictable in terms of danger and tourists are rarely harmed. I can think of Mount St Helen's in Washington state that exploded without warning in the 80's but not any others. Andrewssi2 (talk) 11:47, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Modern warnings[edit]

There have been a number of eruptions through history with huge numbers of casualties, perhaps most famously Pompeii. Are we reasonably safe from such events today, assuming we heed any warnings or evacuation orders that are issued? I know predictions on earthquakes are far from perfect & imagine the same might apply for volcanic activity. On the other hand, I imagine some progress has been made & today's scientists can predict much better than ancient Romans could.

However I really have no idea whether they can predict well enough to keep travellers safe. If someone knows, that would be a good thing for the article to discuss. Pashley (talk) 00:51, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

It seems (based on reports on the Icelandic ones distorting air traffic some years ago) one is mostly able to tell what volcanoes may have an eruption in foreseeable or near future (pressure building up), and the probable mode of eruption, but whether the eruption will happen tomorrow or next year is often anybody's guess. Some volcanoes seem to be more regular than others, and I suppose tour organizers in some countries are more likely to trust probabilities than in others. Real expertise would be needed both in this article and in those of individual volcanoes. --LPfi (talk) 15:17, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

Phelgraean Fields?[edit]

Clickbait headline: Phlegraean Fields: The Italian Supervolcano Ready To Blow. The actual article text says no major eruption in 30-odd thousand years & experts have little idea when in might blow. But it is large & is near a major city, & previous eruptions have caused serious & widespread damage. w:Phlegraean Fields

I'm inclined to think it should be mentioned here but doing it justice work require research that I do not want to do. Pashley (talk) 20:20, 10 August 2018 (UTC)

Yellowstone article[edit]

The Yellowstone Supervolcano Is Putting on the Best Show in America Right Now Pashley (talk) 07:15, 3 November 2018 (UTC)

Expressing a time period[edit]

We have a sentence along the lines "There have been only two VEI-7 eruptions ...". The time indicator has been:

  1. since the time of Christ
  2. since the time the Roman Empire ceased being a Republic
  3. in the last 2,000 years

I think the original #1 was the right choice & still is. #2 seems clumsy & pointless to me. As I see it, that makes the text obscure for some silly political correctness reason. I tried #3 as a compromise, but User:Hobbitschuster reverted to #2. I object!

Other opinions? Pashley (talk) 01:59, 28 November 2018 (UTC)

For the record, I did not mention "political correctness". At any rate, "Christ" is explicitly a religious title and anybody who knows a bit about Christianity knows that. That is why those scientists who say something of cake can be said about the man behind the myth talk of "Jesus of Nazareth" when talking about "the real person" whatever that might mean...
I think "in the last 2000 years" is clumsy, because it necessarily gives a weirdly specific number (sigfigs and all) and people might misinterpret it as meaning 18 CE thus year and 19 CE the next... We can of course mention some appropriate event not from the Mediterranean culture... Since the Han dynasty or "since the prrclassical Mayan age", but I do not see why we should reference an itinerant preacher who died like a lowly criminal or an insurgent slave Hobbitschuster (talk) 02:16, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
"In the last 2,000 years" is quite clear. Is it slightly incorrect? When were the last 2 VE-7 eruptions? Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:28, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
w:Category:VEI-7 volcanoes gives Lake Taupo in 180 CE and Mount Tambora in 1815. There was one on Lombok in 1257 that I have read that vulcanologists are not sure about but w:List of largest volcanic eruptions has it as VEI-7. Pashley (talk) 07:44, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Given that we use a dating system with BCE and CE, I'd say #1 is obviously correct, less obscure than #2 and more correct than #3 where the meaning changes every year. Pashley (talk) 07:51, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
I vote for #3. It won't be 2180 CE for another 62 years. That's long enough not to be an issue for a couple of generations at least. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:00, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
I rewrote it to just list the last three eruptions instead of trying to describe the interval. Pashley (talk) 08:27, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
That's fine. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:38, 28 November 2018 (UTC)

Scope of article - Should we have dormant/extinct volcanoes?[edit]

There are a huge number of dormant and extinct volcanoes around the world. Many of them are now basically just mountains with a volcanic past.

Given there are a lot of volcanoes in this list, should we cut out the ones' that are unlikely to erupt again? Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:49, 5 May 2020 (UTC)

I don't agree that it's a long list. Also, the list could be subdivided into "Active" and "Extinct" (or "Inactive", which is what en.wp uses). "Dormant" is a dubious categorization, although en.wp uses it, nevertheless. My other remark would be that if we choose to make this a selective list, we should still keep a listing for an extinct volcano if it's interesting to see. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:17, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
By the way, it's nice to see you here and participating. I just thought I'd say so. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:33, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
Thanks! Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:19, 6 May 2020 (UTC)
People do not go to Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Fuji expecting to see them erupt, but they are among the world's most famous volcanoes. Pashley (talk) 04:36, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
People also don't go to Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Fuji to look at volcanoes at all. They are impressive mountains that were originally formed by volcanoes. It is going to be a very long list if all mountains created by volcanic activity are included. Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:19, 6 May 2020 (UTC)
Fuji has a clear shape of a volcano, so I'd definitely count it. Moreover, per w:Mount Fuji: "Mount Fuji is an active stratovolcano that last erupted from 1707–1708." Kilimanjaro isn't dead, either: "Kilimanjaro is a large stratovolcano composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo, the highest; Mawenzi at 5,149 metres (16,893 ft); and Shira, the lowest at 4,005 metres (13,140 ft). Mawenzi and Shira are extinct, while Kibo is dormant and could erupt again." "Dormant" to me is simply another word for "alive". A long time between eruptions on a human time scale is not necessarily long in geological time: "The last activity here, dated to 150,000–200,000 years ago, created the current Kibo summit crater. Kibo still has gas-emitting fumaroles in its crater." Sure sounds alive to me. -- Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:41, 6 May 2020 (UTC)

Book on Tambora eruption[edit]

The Year of No Summer Pashley (talk) 04:37, 31 October 2020 (UTC)

National Geographic[edit]

This May Be the Most Dangerous U.S. Volcano, Mount Rainier Pashley (talk) 13:58, 20 November 2020 (UTC)

"Destroyed Minoan civilization"[edit]

This article makes a claim which per This Wikipedia article is not universally shared among experts on the subject and I think we should change the wording. The question is: How? Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:36, 27 February 2021 (UTC)

Edited. Comment solicited. Pashley (talk) 01:09, 28 February 2021 (UTC)

Geo co-ordinates[edit]

Volcanoes#Destinations has many volcanoes listed without co-ordinates. I've been fixing some every once in a while, but I get bored so I never do more than about five in a burst & I usually go for weeks between bursts.

Other contributors, care to dive in here? Pashley (talk) 02:25, 28 February 2021 (UTC)

Did a few more, my first in months & I do not notice anyone else active on it. Pashley (talk) 05:40, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
Most major volcanoes have articles at Wikipedia but few of those are linked here. Pashley (talk) 10:46, 11 June 2021 (UTC)

Volcanic smog[edit]

I just added an entry on this. I live near enough to Taal Volcano that I get official bulletins about it & one had this text:

Vog is a type of air pollution that is caused by volcanoes. It consists of fine droplets containing volcanic gas such as SO2 which is acidic and can cause irritation of the eyes, throat and respiratory tract in severities depending on the gas concentrations and durations of exposure. People particularly sensitive to such ill effects are those with health conditions such as asthma, lung disease and heart disease, the elderly, pregnant women and children. If vog occurs and exposure cannot be avoided, please be mindful of the following:
(1) Limit your exposure. Avoid outdoor activities, stay indoors and shut doors and windows to block out vog.
(2) Protect yourself. Cover nose, ideally with an N95 facemask. Drink plenty of water to reduce any throat irritation or constriction.

Pashley (talk) 10:35, 29 June 2021 (UTC)