Volcanoes have erupted throughout history causing the loss of whole villages and their residents. The most famous of these volcanoes is Mount Vesuvius, which erupted in 76 A.D. burying the town of Pompeii in Italy. Volcanoes are active all over the world today. Some of them do erupt from time to time and others are now believed to be extinct having not had any activity for decades. However, there have been about 550 recorded volcanic eruptions that have resulted in the loss of many lives. Many volcanoes have erupted on the ocean floor causing a tsunami on land, such as that which occurred in Indonesia in 2006.
There are about 60 active volcanoes in the world today. Kilauea in Hawaii is the youngest of the volcanoes on the Island of Hawaii and most of its bulk is beneath the ocean. The shape of the volcano rose above the water in the late 18th century. It is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth and is currently in a stage of eruption. There was an eruption during 1959-60, but the current state of agitation began in 1983. A plume of gas can be seen rising from the top of the cone.
Mount St. Helens in the US state of Washington had been an inactive volcano for many years until it started rumbling in 1980. This eruption was the deadliest and the most catastrophic of all the eruptions in the United States, killing people, and destroying homes, roads and bridges.
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Mount Vesuvius, which destroyed Pompeii, is still quite active. From 1983 – 1985, thousands of people living in the surrounding areas had to be relocated. This is a complex volcano in that it consists of a system of volcanoes with many vents.
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Even though it has been several hundred years since its last eruption, Mount Fuji in Japan is another famous volcano. It is the tallest volcano in the country and is a challenge for many mountain climbers. There have been periods of time when the volcano was inactive for about 400 years, so it is possible that this volcano will erupt again.
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Mount Merapi in Indonesia is a volcano that experts are watching. It has erupted 68 times since the mid 16th century. It is currently in an active state with the agitation that started in 1983. Eleven of the eruptions have resulted in loss of life.
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