How many active volcanoes are there on Earth?

There are about 1,500 potentially active volcanoes worldwide, aside from the continuous belt of volcanoes on the ocean floor. About 500 of these have erupted in historical time. Many of these are located along the Pacific Rim in what is known as the 'Ring of Fire.' In the United States, volcanoes in the Cascade Range and Alaska (Aleutian volcanic chain) are part of the Ring, while Hawaiian volcanoes form over a 'hot spot' near the center of the Ring.

There are 169 potentially active volcanoes in the United States.

Good sources for information about volcanoes outside the United States include Oregon State University's Volcano World and the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program

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Which volcanoes in the conterminous United States have erupted since the Nation was founded?

Excluding steam eruptions, these volcanoes have shown activity:

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Where does the United States rank in the number of volcanoes?

The United States ranks third, behind Indonesia and Japan, in the number of historically active volcanoes (that is, those for which we have written accounts of eruptions). In addition, about 10 percent of the more than 1,500 volcanoes that have erupted in the past 10,000 years are located in the United States. 

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What is the "Ring of Fire"?

Most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions do not strike randomly but occur in specific areas, such as along plate boundaries. One such area is the circum-Pacific Ring of Fire, where the Pacific Plate meets many surrounding plates. The Ring of Fire is the most

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How much of the Earth is volcanic?

More than 80 percent of the Earth's surface -- above and below sea level -- is of volcanic origin. Gaseous emissions from volcanic vents over hundreds of millions of years formed the Earth's earliest oceans and atmosphere, which supplied the ingredients vital to evolve and sustain life. Over geologic eons, countless

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What are some benefits of volcanic eruptions?

  • Over geologic time, volcanic eruptions and related processes have directly and indirectly benefited mankind.
  • Volcanic materials ultimately break down and weather to form some of the most fertile soils on Earth, cultivation of which has produced abundant food and fostered civilizations.
  • The internal
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Can an eruption at one volcano trigger an eruption at another nearby volcano (for example, within about 10 km)?

There are a few historic examples of simultaneous eruptions from volcanoes or vents located within about 10 km of each other, but it's very difficult to determine whether one eruption caused the other. To the extent that these erupting volcanoes or vents have common or overlapping magma reservoirs and hydrothermal systems,

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Do volcanoes affect weather?

Yes, volcanoes can affect weather and the Earth's climate. Following the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, cooler than normal temperatures were recorded worldwide and brilliant sunsets and sunrises were attributed to this eruption that sent fine

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Date published: May 17, 2017

EarthWord–Phreatic Eruption

This EarthWord is straight up steampunk...

Date published: May 16, 2017

EarthWord–Lahar

Which sounds more dangerous, lava or mud? The answer may surprise you...

Date published: August 22, 2016

EarthWord–Tephra

Look! In the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane! Wait, run, it’s this week’s EarthWord!

Date published: August 2, 2016

30 Years Saving Lives from Volcanoes

There are approximately 1,550 potentially active volcanoes around the world. VDAP works to reduce loss of life and property, limit economic impact and prevent volcanic crises from becoming disasters.

Date published: February 1, 2016

EarthWord – Nuée Ardente

A nuée ardente is a turbulent, fast moving cloud of hot gas and ash erupted from a volcano. 

Filter Total Items: 7
July 28, 2016

Volcanic eruptions occur int he State about as frequently as the large San Andreas Fault Zone earthquakes. California's "watch list" volcanoes are dispersed throughout the State and future eruptions are inevitable—the likelihood of renewed volcanism is on the order of one in a few hundred to one in a few thousand annually.

With Margaret Mangan, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS CalVO

January 22, 2014

Public Lecture on Yellowstone Volcano by Jake Lowenstern at Menlo Park, CA on January 23, 2014. The Q&A at the end of the talk can be found on the original source video (Source URL).

video thumbnail: Volcano Hazards
July 30, 2012

The United States has 169 active volcanoes. More than half of them could erupt explosively, sending ash up to 20,000 or 30,000 feet where commercial air traffic flies. USGS scientists are working to improve our understanding of volcano hazards to help protect communities and reduce the risks.

Video Sections:

  • Volcanoes: Monitoring Volcanoes
  • Volcanoes: National Volcano Early Warning System
  • Volcanoes: Science for Public Safety
USGS
November 17, 2009

To increase to increase public awareness during Native American Indian National Heritage Month, we will be discussing the anthropology of indigenous peoples in the Aleutian Islands and how continued scientific research can help future forecasting of mega-earthquake and transoceanic tsunami probabilities.

video thumbnail: Yes! Yellowstone is a Volcano (Part 1 of 3)
January 29, 2009

USGS Scientist-in-Charge of Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, Jake Lowenstern, answers
the following questions to explain volcanic features at Yellowstone: "How do we know Yellowstone is a
volcano?", "What is a Supervolcano?", "What is a Caldera?","Why are there geysers at Yellowstone?",
and "What are the other geologic hazards in Yellowstone?"

View Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this video.

Image: Cascade Volcanoes

The volcanoes from closest to farthest are Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson. This picture is taken from Middle Sister looking north in the Cascade Range, Three Sisters Wilderness Area, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon.