Mount TamboraThe biggest volcanic eruption in human history occurred in 1815 on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, leaving 100,000 dead. There was between six months and three years of steaming and small eruptions after the initial one. Because of the 400 million ton cloud of gas the volcano created, the earth began to cool and 1816 became known as "The Year Without Summer" because of the low temperatures, which killed crops and led to mass starvation.
KrakatoaThe volcanic island, which is between the Indonesian islands Java and Sumatra, erupted in 1883 with a force 13,000 times that of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Over 36,000 people died. The explosion holds the record for the loudest sound ever heard. The sound was hard over 3,000 miles away from its origin point. The eruption produced a 130 foot high tsunami, which destroyed villages and killed 90 percent of the total people who died in the disaster.
Mount VesuviusThe famous Italian volcano, the only active one on the European continent, erupted in 79 AD, killing at least 16,000 people with suffocating ash and instantly decimating Pompei and Herculeneam. Excavations beginning in the 19th century have been uncovering the skeletal remains of the volcano's victims. The volcano has erupted 30 times since then and scientists predict that the next eruption will be terrible, endangering the lives of at least 600,000 Italians living within its red zone.
Mount PeléeMount Pelee is a volcano on Martinique, the Caribbean island which was colonized by the French. On May 2, 1902 the rivers in St. Pierre were filled with boulders and trees from the mountain and the air was contaminated with sulfur. The eruption produced a tsunami that flooded the city. One side of the volcano collapsed, releasing boiling water and mud into the sugar farms and burying people alive. The eruption is known as the deadliest in the 20th century, killing at least 29,000 people.
Nevado del RuizRecorded as the second deadliest volcanic eruption in the 20th century, the Nevado del Ruiz eruption, known as the Armero tragedy of 1985, killed at least 23,000. The Nevado del Ruiz is the northernmost volcano in the Andean Volcanic Belt, located in Tolima, Colombia. The eruption produced several lahars and one reached Armero, a little town located 70,000 kilometers from the summit of the volcano. The eruption was Colombia's worst natural disaster and is estimated to have cost $1 billion.
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