Volcanism: The worst volcanic disasters
One of the worst volcanic disasters was the Toba eruption on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. This so-called super-volcanic eruption occurred approximately 72,000 years ago and nearly exterminated the entire human race.
A dramatic occurrence in the Bronze Age was when the eruption of Santorini initiated the downfall of the Minoans. In Roman times there was a catastrophic eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in the Bay of Naples where the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae were destroyed.
In 1815, the Indonesian volcano Tambora erupted and the following year is considered the year without summer due to a decrease in global temperature.It was one of the most powerful eruptions in recorded history and is classified as a VEI-7 event. The eruption of the volcano Tambora devasted most parts of the island of Sumbawa. More then 12.000 people were killed directly. Roughly 72.000 died as a result of global cooling.
In 1883, the volcanic island of Krakatau
was destroyed in a massive volcanic eruption. It created pyroclastic flows and tsunamis, and more than 36,500 people died. The shock wave of this eruption went around the world and a small tidial wave was messured in the Netherlands.
The largest volcanic disasters in recent history include the eruptions of Mount St. Helens in the USA and Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. Both eruptions were classified as VEI-6 events.
The volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajoekull in Iceland also made headlines. The eruption in 2010 caused a multi-day flight ban over Europe. The financial damage was enormous, however people were not killed.
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