There are currently over 60 active volcanoes located throughout Europe, and two of the world most active volcanoes are located in Italy. A volcano can be classified as active, dormant or extinct. An active volcano is one that has erupted in recent history, while a dormant volcano is one that has erupted in the past, but does not show any signs of activity. An extinct volcano is one that is not believed to have the potential to erupt again.
The two most well known volcanoes in Europe are Mount Vesuvius and Mount Etna. Mount Vesuvius is best recognized as the volcano that produced the destruction of Pompeii in 79 AD, causing over 10,000 casualties. Prior to this explosion, Mount Vesuvius was believed to be dormant and was covered with plant life. It tends to erupt explosively, and has erupted four times during the past 200 years.
Mount Etna is a volcano located on the eastern shore of Sicily, and it holds the record as the highest European volcano. It is a type of volcano known as a composite volcano. This type of formation is cone shaped and very tall. In contemporary times, Mount Etna almost continuously displays signs of activity, such as releasing smoke, ash and magma.
The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull made news headlines for weeks after a 2010 explosion. The ash from the explosion spread over parts of Europe and canceled flights for several weeks after the event. Katla, another Icelandic volcano, is located within miles of Eyjafjallajokull. Katla has shown recent signs of activity, with hundreds of tremors recorded. An explosion at Katla could have global implications, as it would melt billions of gallons of ice and cause flooding.
Volcanoes are most often structured like a mountain, but this is not always the case, as seen with Santorini in the Aegean Sea. Santorini is located near Greece and is made up of a ring of volcanic structures and ridges. Santorini is believed to have been the result of an earlier volcanic eruption which formed the smaller individual structures.
An erupting volcano is one of the most powerful and explosive forces of nature. The study of volcanoes is prevalent across Europe, due the the number of active volcanoes on the continent. Careful study of the volcanoes, combined with monitoring of their activity, provides valuable scientific data and can help to prevent casualties in the case of an eruption.
Volcanoes in Europe:
Germany: Vogtland volcanic area | Laacher See | Kaiserstuhl
Armenia: Aragats | Ghegam | Porak | Dar-Alages | Tskhouk-Karckar | Stromboli
Italy: Amiata | Vulsini | Monte Albano | Campi Flegrei (Phlegrean Fields) | Vesuvius | Ischia | Etna | Campi Flegrei Mar Sicilia | Pantelleria
Turkey (18 volcanoes): Akyarlar | Kenger | Sandal | Kula | Karadağ | Karapinar | Hasan Dagi | Göllü Dağ | Acigöl-Nevsehir | Erciyes Dağ | Koruhüyüğü | Karaca Dağ | Nemrut Dağ | Süphan Dağ | Kars | Girekol | Tendürek Dağ | Ararat
Greece (6 volcanoes): Sousaki | Methana | Milos | Nisyros | Kolumbo | Santorini
Azores (14 volcanoes): Corvo | Flores | Graciosa | Terceira | San Jorge | Fayal | Pico | Don Joao de Castro Bank | Sete Cidades | Fajã de Cima | Picos Volcanic System | Agua de Pau | Furnas | Monaco Bank
Spain (8 volcanoes): Madeira Madeira Olot Field
Canary Islands (7 volcanoes): Lanzarote | Fuerteventura | Gran Canaria | Tenerife | La Gomera | La Palma | El Hierro