How Many Volcanoes Are In The World?

Written by Volia Nikaci
Updated: January 24, 2023
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A volcano is one of the most fascinating natural phenomena on earth. In geology, a volcano is a mountain that contains molten rock beneath its surface. During times of pressure buildup, eruptions take place. A volcanic eruption releases gases and rock from the opening, resulting in lava fragments filling the air. Volcanic eruptions are often accompanied by violent flows of lava and hot ash, avalanches, falling ash, and floods. Considering how devastating a volcanic eruption can be, it’s important to know just how many volcanoes are in the world. Let’s take a look at how many active and nonactive volcanoes there are in the world!

How Many Volcanoes Are In The World?

As volcanic eruptions occur, hot and dangerous gasses, ash, lava, and rock are released, causing great destruction.

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Are you surprised to hear that more than 80% of the earth’s surface is volcanic? Volcanic eruptions have played a significant role in the formation of both the sea bottom and some mountains. In the early days of the earth’s history, the atmosphere was formed by gases emitted by volcanoes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), there are about 1,350 potentially active volcanoes worldwide. In the course of history, approximately 500 of the 1,350 volcanoes have erupted.

Let’s look at which countries have the most volcanoes now that we know how many volcanoes there are in the world.

Which Countries Have The Most Volcanoes?

volcano erupting
There are 161 active volcanoes in the United States.

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A volcano usually occurs where tectonic plates collide or diverge. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a point where tectonic plates come together, so there are tons of volcanoes there. There are also a lot of volcanoes in the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Let’s take a look at the countries with the most volcanoes:

United States

The United States is definitely the winner when it comes to the most volcanoes. The US has the largest number of volcanoes in the world with a total of 173. Most of these volcanoes are found in Alaska. Alaska happens to see eruptions happening every single year. Altogether the US has about 161 active volcanoes, however, as we mentioned, most volcanoes are in the western portion of the country. Other volcanoes are found in Hawaii and Kilauea is the most active volcano in the world that has erupted continuously since 1983. Kilauea volcanic mountain in Hawaii is also considered the most dangerous volcano in the whole country.

Indonesia

At the moment, Indonesia has 121 volcanoes, of which 74 have been active since 1800 CE. This is due to its location within the Pacific Ring of Fire. More than 197 million Indonesians live within 100 kilometers of active volcanoes, with 9 million living within 10 kilometers. Sunda Arc, a 1,800-mile-long chain of volcanoes, is where most of the country’s volcanoes are located. It was in Indonesia that the largest volcanic eruptions ever recorded on the planet took place.

Japan

In Japan, Mount Fujiyama is the tallest mountain, which is an active volcano better known as Mount Fuji. It last erupted in 1707. There are 122 volcanoes in Japan, 62 of which have been active since 1800 CE. Located in a geologically active part of the world, these volcanoes in Japan belong to the Pacific Ring of Fire. There are many active volcanoes in Japan’s national parks, making them beautiful scenic destinations for people to visit.

Which Country Has No Active Volcanoes?

There are volcanoes on every continent on Earth, and Australia is no exception. However, there are no active volcanoes in Australia. This is primarily due to the fact that Australia is located away from the edge of a tectonic plate. This means that the volcanoes have moved away from their access to lava, causing them to become extinct. Tweed Volcano, also referred to as Mount Warning Volcano, is one of the extinct volcanoes in Australia. Thousands of years ago, it was a large shield volcano that eroded, forming a caldera.

Which Cities Were Built On Volcanoes?

Mount Vesuvius Italy
In reality, Mount Vesuvius is the result of two volcanoes.

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It may surprise you to learn that a number of cities on our planet were formed right on or near volcanoes. Among the cities built entirely on active volcano fields is Auckland, New Zealand. Over the course of its history, the city has seen more than 50 eruptions. The best-known volcanoes in the area are Rangitoto and Mount Wellington. However, there are many others as well. Another volcanic city is Naples, Italy. As a result of the collapse of two volcanoes that came together long ago, Naples is partially built on the caldera. It is possible that Vesuvius will destroy Naples again as it has done before.

What Is The Oldest Volcano On The Planet?

It is believed that Mount Etna in Italy is the world’s oldest active volcano. On the lower slopes of the mountain and along the southern plain of Catania, vineyards and orchards thrive in the fertile volcanic soils. It is believed that the first record of its eruption dates back to 1500 BC. A total of 190 eruptions have taken place on Etna since then.

Among the largest continental volcanoes in the world, it is one that has produced the greatest number of historic eruptions. There was an eruption back in 1993 that was one of the largest eruptions in the history of the volcano. According to Greek mythology, Zeus, the god of the sky and thunder and king of gods, trapped Typhon under this mountain, and Hephaestus’ forges were also beneath it.

Without Volcanoes, What Would Happen To The Earth?

Life on Earth evolved thanks to volcanoes, even though they are renowned for their destructive power. It is estimated that the majority of Earth’s water would remain trapped in the crust and mantle if volcanoes didn’t exist. Our modern atmosphere was created by early volcanic eruptions. 

Volcanoes aren’t just responsible for water and air, they also make land. In spite of the fact that volcanoes can cause huge damage in the moment, without them, Earth’s life wouldn’t be the same. Some of the most fertile soils on earth were formed by volcanic breakdown and weathering, which led to civilizations coming about. All of this would not have been possible without volcanoes.


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Volcano Erupting
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About the Author

Volia Nikaci is a freelance copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When she's not writing she loves traveling, perusing used book stores, and hanging out with her other half.

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