Home General Studies World Geography

Volcanoes around the World (Facts, Information & Distribution)

news-details Image Source Sep 29, 2021 11:36 IST · 1 min read

A volcano is a rupture (a sudden bursting or breaking) in the crust of a planetar-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface.

On Earth, volcanoes are most often found where tectonic plates are diverging or converging, and most are found underwater.

For example, a mid-ocean ridge, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, has volcanoes caused by divergent tectonic plates whereas the Pacific Ring of Fire has volcanoes caused by convergent tectonic plates.

Volcanoes can also form where there is stretching and thinning of the crust's plates, such as in the East African Rift and the Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field and Rio Grande Rift in North America.

Volcanoes are usually not created where two tectonic plates slide past one another.

While most volcanoes are created by geological activity at tectonic plate boundaries, the Hawaii hotspot is located far from plate boundaries. Hot-spot volcanism can occur in the middle of tectonic plates.

Hot-spot volcanism occurs near unusually hot parts of Earth's mantle, the layer of the planet below the crust. The upwelling of molten rock creates volcanoes that spew out lava (magma that reaches Earth's surface).

Magma is the term used to denote the molten rocks and related materials seen inside earth. Once this magma comes out to the earth surface through the vent of a volcano, it is called as the Lava.

The 5 countries with the most volcanoes: United States (173), Russia (166), Indonesia (139), Iceland (130), Japan (112).


Most of the volcanoes in the world are found in three well defined belts:

1) The Circum-Pacific Belt

Most of the high volcanic cones and volcanis mountains are found in Circum-Pacific Belt (The Pacific Ring of Fire), where there is active subduction of the Pacific, Nazca, Cocos, and juan de fuca plates.

One good example is the volcanic islands of Sumatra and Java, which lies over the subduction zone between the Australian plate and the Eurasian plate.

Circum-Pacific Belt
Volcano Location
Mauna Loa
Hawaii (US)
Mount St Helens
Mt Baker
Mt Rainier
Mt Adams
Washington (US)
Mt Shasta
Mt Konocti
Lassen Peak
Brushy Butte
Twin Buttes
California (US)
Mt Hood
Mt Mazama
Newberry Volcano
Cinnamon Butte
Oregon (US)
La Garita Caldera
Colorado (US)
Mount Ontake
Sendai, Sakurajima
Mount Usu
Mount Yake
El chichon
Mt Ruapehu
Mt Tongariro
Mt Ngauruhoe
White Island
Mt Taranaki
Monowai Seamount
Mt Pirongia
New Zealand
Mt Mayon Philippines
Mt Rinjani
Mt Raung
Mt Kelud
Papua New Guinea
Tungurahua Ecuador
Volcan de Fuego Guatemala
Poas Costa Rica
Mount Erebus

2) Himalayan Belt

The African continental plate thrust into the Eurasian continental plate 30 million years ago and the Indian continental plate thrust into the Eurasian continental plate 50 million years ago.

This gave rise to a chain of folded mountains along the boundaries of these plates.

Atlas-Alpine Caucasus and Himalayan Belt
Volcano Location
Italy (Alpine Belt)
No Active Volcano Himalayan Belt

3) The African Rift Valley Belt

A narrow zone, the rift is a developing divergent tectonic plate boundary where the African Plate is in the process of splitting into two tectonic plates, called the Somali Plate and the Nubian Plate.

East African Belt
Volcano Location
Manda Hararo
Marion Island South Africa
Ol Doinyo Langai Tanzania
Mount Cameroon Cameroon
Mount Fogo Cape Verde
Karthala Comoros

India's only active volcanoe is located in Barren island of Andaman, which is also the only confirmed active volcano in South Asia.

Major Volcanoes around the World

Here is a list of major volcanoes around the world, their location, country, heights and prominent features:

Largest Volcanoes In the World
Volcanoes Location & Feature Height (m)
Mauna Loa Hawaii, U.S.A 9170
Haleakala Hawaii, U.S.A 9144
Teide Canary Islands, Spain 7500
Piton des Neiges Reunion, France 7071
Ojos del Salado Argentina/Chile - Highest active volcano on Earth 6893
Llullaillaco Argentina/Chile - Second highest active volcano on Earth 6739
Nevado Sajama Bolivia - The highest peak of Bolivia 6542
Chimborazo Ecuador - Farthest point from Earth's centre 6267
Cotopaxi Ecuador - Second highest in Ecuador 5897
Kilimanjaro Tanzania - Highest volcano outside South America; the highest peak in Africa 5895
Cayambe Ecuador - Third highest in Ecuador 5790
Mount Elbrus Russia - Highest volcano in Eurasia; the highest peak in Russia 5642
Pico de Orizaba Mexico -Highest volcano in North America; the highest peak in Mexico 5636
Mount Damavand Iran - Highest volcano within Asia; the highest peak in Iran 5610
PopocatÚpetl Mexico - Second highest volcano in North America 5426
Iztaccihuatl Mexico ? Third highest volcano in North America 5230
Mount Kenya Kenya - Second highest volcano in Africa; the highest mountain in Kenya 5199
Mount Ararat Turkey/Armenia - The highest mountain in Turkey 5137
Mount Kazbek Georgia - Highest volcano in Georgia 5047
Mount Bona Alaska - highest volcano in the United States 5005
Klyuchevskaya Sopka The Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia - highest active in Eurasia; the highest mountain in Siberia 4750
Mount Karisimbi Rwanda/Democratic Republic of Congo - highest mountain in Rwanda 4507
Mount Rainier Washington - highest volcano in the contiguous United States 4392
Mount Giluwe Papua New Guinea - highest volcano in Australasia and Pacific islands 4368
Volcan Tajumulco Guatemala - highest mountain in Central America 4220
Mauna Kea Hawaii, United States - World's tallest mountain from base to summit 4205
Mount Sidley Antarctica - Highest volcano in Antarctica 4181
Mount Cameroon Cameroon - Highest mountain in Cameroon 4095
Mount Aragats Armenia - Highest mountain in Armenia 4095
Mount Kerinci Sumatra, Indonesia - Highest volcano in Indonesia; the highest mountain in Sumatra 3805
Mount Fuji Chubu Region, Honshu ? Highest mountain in Japan 3776
Mount Rinjani Lombok, Indonesia - Second-highest volcano in Indonesia 3726
Teide Tenerife, Canary Islands - the highest peak in the Atlantic Islands and Spain 3718
Semeru Java, Indonesia - Highest mountain in Java 3676
Emi Koussi Chad - Highest mountain in Chad & the Sahara 3415
Mount Etna Sicily - Active; highest volcano in Western Europe; the highest peak in Italy south of the Alps 3329
Haleakala Maui, Hawaii - Highest peak of Maui 3055
Mount Agung Bali, Indonesia - Highest mountain in Bali 3031
Pico BasilÚ Bioko, Equatorial Guinea - Highest mountain in Equatorial Guinea 3011
Mount Zuqualla Oromia Region - Highest volcano in Ethiopia 2989
Mount Apo Mindanao - Highest mountain in the Philippines 2954
Mount Shishaldin (Sisquk) Unimak Island, Alaska - Highest mountain in the Aleutian Islands 2857
Mount Ruapehu North Island - Highest volcano in New Zealand 2797
Mawson Peak Heard Island - Highest mountain in Australia 2745
Pico Azores - Highest mountain in Portugal 2351
Beerenberg Jan Mayen, Norway - Highest volcano in Norway 2277
Taal Volcano Batangas, Philippines - Smallest volcano on earth 311
Pali-Aike volcanic field Argentina - Chile border region 180

Popular in World Geography