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201.4Mil BC
A mass extinction occurred about this time. In 1999 it was reported that a titanic volcanic eruption occurred about this time and split an ancient super-continent. This process began the formation of the Atlantic Ocean. Half of all marine species died in a few million years. [see 252 and 225 mil]
Links: Volcano, Extinction, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
150Mil BC
145Mil BC
The Santiago Peak Volcanics took place in southern California.
Links: California, Volcano, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
55Mil BC
An increase in temperature prompted a major shift in plant distribution. In 2005 scientists reported that Earth warmed 9 to 18 degrees over a 10,000 years to a warm period that lasted 80-120 thousand years. Plants in the southern US spread 1,000 miles from the gulf Coast to Wyoming, and disappeared when the climate cooled off. In 2007 scientists said that it took about 200,000 years for the atmospheric carbon from volcanic eruptions to be transferred to the deep ocean, allowing the planet to cool.
Links: Environment, Earth, Volcano, Wyoming, Botany, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
3.4Mil BC
In California volcanic ash from about this time covered coastal redwood forests. In 1871 petrified redwood trees, dating to this time, were discovered in Calistoga, Ca.
Links: California, Volcano, Trees, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2.8Mil BC
Volcanic eruptions in the area of Flagstaff, Arizona, began building a 16,000-foot volcano. It later became known as the San Francisco Mountain and in 2006 stood at 12,643-feet.
Links: Arizona, Volcano, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1Mil BC
Ascension Island, the top of a volcano, broke through the surface of the Atlantic Ocean about this time. Since then the island has grown to about 100 square km.
Links: Volcano, HistoryBC, Ascension     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
800000 BC
The Haleakala shield volcano on Maui, Hawaii, appeared about this time.
Links: Volcano, Hawaii     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
700000 BC
A pyroclastic flow (hot gasses, pumice and other dry volcanic materials that roar down a volcano's slopes at one hundred km an hour) in California's Long Valley was so huge that it topped the Sierra Nevada.
Links: California, Volcano, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
640000 BC
Volcanic eruptions in northwest Wyoming, extending to Idaho and Montana, created a caldera some 40 miles long and 30 miles wide. The surface collapsed thousands of feet into a magma pool and marked the area later known as Yellowstone. Continuing eruptions caused climactic changes around the world.
Links: USA, Environment, Volcano, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
8000 BC
In Nevada about this time the Lathrop Wells Cone erupted. It is less than a mile from Yucca Mountain, a site later proposed for the long-term storage of radioactive waste.
Links: Nevada, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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5000 BC
Mt. Mazama in what is now Oregon blew up about this time and left what is now called Crater Lake.
Links: Volcano, Oregon     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1780 BC
Vesuvius erupted about this time and entombed settlements 15km northwest of the volcano. The Avellino event left evidence at the Nola site that people were able to flee the eruption.
Links: Italy, Volcano, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
430 BC
Legend has it that the Greek philosopher Empedocles (b.430) climbed Mount Etna only to leap into its crater in despair. It is said that he jumped in out of frustration because he couldn’t figure out how the volcano worked. Empedocles was the author of a work called "On Nature."
Links: Greece, Philosophy, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
940
Mount Paektu, a volcano straddling the border between North Korea and China, erupted and covered a swath of North-East Asia in ashes.
Links: China, Korea, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1100
A volcano erupted about this time in the area of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Links: Arizona, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1100
1300
About this period volcanic ash and molten rock sprayed the area of the Wupatki Basin near Flagstaff, Arizona for as long as 200 years.
Links: Arizona, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1362
In Iceland the Oraefajokull volcano erupted. This eruption was later believed to have eclipsed the 79AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Links: Volcano, Iceland     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1783 Jun 8
In Iceland the Lakagicar volcano began erupting. Over the next 6 months it built a lava dam 40 miles long and 540 feet high in a month. The Laki volcano wiped out 75% of the crops, which led to a severe famine that killed some 10,000 people, 20% of the population, reducing the population to some 40,000 people. This was described by Haraldur Sigurdson in an article titled Volcanic Pollution and Climate: Eos 63, Aug. 10, 1982. The Laki eruption sent poisonous gases across Europe.
Links: Volcano, Iceland     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1783 Jun
1784 Feb
A series of 10 eruptions from the Laki Craters on Iceland changed atmospheric conditions in most of the Northern Hemisphere. This also generated a cascade of events that led to record low levels of water in the Nile River and brought famine to the region.
Links: Egypt, Africa, Volcano, Iceland     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1815 Apr 5
Mount Tambora on Sumbawa Island, Indonesia, in the Java Sea began erupting. [see Apr 10]
Links: Indonesia, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1815 Apr 10
A third of the 13,000 foot Mount Tambora on Sumbawa Island, Indonesia, was blasted into the air. Some 50,000 islanders were killed and the whole planet was shrouded in a debris of sulfuric droplets. In 2006 scientist reported finding traces of Tambora society.
Links: Indonesia, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1816 Jun 6
There was a 10" snowfall in New England in this "year without a summer". The oceanographer Henry Stommel and his wife Elizabeth described this year in their (1983) book “Volcano Weather: The Story of 1816, The year Without a Summer.” The 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora lofted a cloud of ash that turned this summer into a virtual winter with snow in Europe and New England.
Links: USA, Indonesia, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1821
1823
In Iceland the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted over this period.
Links: Volcano, Iceland     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1886 Jun 10
Mount Tarawera erupted at Rotorua on the North Island. 155 people were killed and several Maori and European settlements, including Te Wairoa, were destroyed.
Links: Volcano, New Zealand     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1902
On the French Island of Martinique in the east W. Indies, the Mt. Pelee volcano blew its top and wiped out the town of St. Pierre. A pyroclastic flow killed over 29,000 people.
Links: France, Volcano, West Indies, Antilles, Martinique     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1912 Jun 6
In Alaska the Novarupta volcano began erupting 6 miles from Mount Katmai. When the eruption stopped on June 9th, the ash cloud had spread across southern Alaska. This was later recognized as the most powerful volcanic eruption of the 20th century. Crops withered across Canada and the US that summer under skies shrouded with volcanic ash.
Links: Canada, USA, Volcano, Alaska     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1913
Mexico’s active Volcan de Fuego, part of the Colima volcano complex, experienced a major eruption. As of 2012 it has erupted more than 40 times since 1576. Only a fraction of the volcano's surface area is in the state of Colima; the majority of its surface area lies over the border in the neighboring state of Jalisco.
Links: Mexico, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1930 Nov 21
In Indonesia lava began flowing as the Mount Merapi volcano erupted. 13 villages were destroyed and some 1369 people were killed by pyroclastic flows.
Links: Indonesia, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1944 Jan 6
In Italy lava began flowing from the conelet of Mount Vesuvius. Lava flows continued into March with several explosions thru the end of March.
Links: Italy, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1968 Jun 29
In Costa Rica the Arenal volcano, dormant for 450 years, burst into life and killed 95 people. The village of Tabacon was wiped out.
Links: Costa Rica, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1968 Oct 23
In Nicaragua the Cerro Negro volcano began erupting again and continued to Dec 10. It had first appeared in 1850.
Links: Nicaragua, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1971 Apr 5
In Sicily, Italy, Mount Etna began a series of eruptions.
Links: Italy, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1973 Jan 23
Helgafell, an island of Heimaey, Iceland, erupted for the 1st time in 7,000 yrs.
Links: Volcano, Iceland     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 Jul 8
A volcano erupted on Guadeloupe and frightened the capital, Basse-Terre. A phreatic eruption of the Soufriere volcano cracked open the summit dome
Links: Volcano, Guadeloupe     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1977 Jan 10
The crater walls of Congo’s Nyiragongo volcano fractured, and a lava lake drained in less than an hour. The lava flowed down the flanks of the volcano at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour on the upper slopes, overwhelming villages and killing at least 70 people.
Links: Volcano, CongoDRC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1977 Sep 13
Kilauea volcano began erupting in Hawaii.
Links: USA, Volcano, Hawaii     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1977
Researchers aboard the deep-sea submersible, Alvin, found an array of unknown and unexpected creatures living beside active volcanic vents in the seafloor in the absence of sunlight and air. Some of the microbes belonged to the group known as Archaea.
Links: USA, Volcano, Biology     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1978 Oct 24
Mount Usu, 475 miles north of Tokyo, erupted. Mud flows killed 2 people and 196 homes were destroyed.
Links: Japan, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Mar 27
Mount St. Helens, dormant for 123 years, erupted with ash and steam. A crater formed at the summit and the north flank began to bulge.
Links: USA, Volcano, Washington     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 May 18
At 8:32 a.m. Mount Saint Helens, in Washington, erupted. It burst 3 times in 24 hours after rumbling for two months and left 57 people dead or missing. The mountain lost over 1,300 feet of elevation and gained a two-mile-long and one mile-wide crater.
Links: USA, Volcano, Washington     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1980 Oct 17
Mt. St. Helens erupted 3 times in 24 hours, in Washington. The eruptions had begun May 18.
Links: USA, Volcano, Washington     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982 Mar
In Mexico the El Chichon volcano began erupting.
Links: Mexico, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982 Sep 1
The US Congress created the 110,000 acre Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
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1982
Oceanographers aboard the deep submersible Alvin, 1,000 miles off Baja, Ca., located an undersea volcanic vent that was found to contain a new organism called Methanococcus jannaschii and classified as Archaea, distinct from Prokarya and Eukarya.
Links: USA, Microbiology, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1983 Jan 3
In Hawaii the Pu’u O’o vent of the Kilauea volcano lit up the skies for the first time and began a state of almost constant eruption.
Links: USA, Volcano, Hawaii     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1983
Kilauea began erupting in Hawaii.
Links: USA, Volcano, Hawaii     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985 Nov 13
Some 23,000 residents of Armero, Colombia, died when a mudslide, triggered by the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, buried the city under 30 feet of mud.
Links: Colombia, Volcano, Disaster     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986 Aug 21
In Cameroon 1,746 people died when toxic gas, an invisible bubble of CO2, erupted [seeped out] from a volcano under Lake Nyos. Venting of the lake began in 2001.
Links: Cameroon, Volcano, Tragedy     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986
The US Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) was created by the USGS and the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance after a mudflow killed more than 23,000 people in Armero, Colombia in 1985.
Links: Colombia, USA, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986
The Reunion island volcano Piton de la Fournaise erupted. The lava cooled into bizarre formations that became a tourist attraction.
Links: Volcano, Mauritius, Reunion     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1989 Dec 13
In Alaska Mt. Redoubt began erupting. Nearly every one of the volcanic events during the 1989-90 eruption of Redoubt Volcano generated lahars in the Drift River Valley.
Links: USA, Volcano, Alaska     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 Dec 15
Mt. Redoubt erupted in Alaska and sent baseball-sized pieces of pumice over 20 miles from the volcano. A 747 jet flew into its ash cloud, lost all four engines and dropped 4,000 feet before it recovered. No one was hurt but the plane sustained $80 million in damage.
Links: USA, Volcano, Alaska     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1990 Jan 2
A lahar from the Mt. Redoubt volcano in Alaska flooded part of the oil terminal in Cook Inlet.
Links: USA, Volcano, Alaska     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1990 Feb 10
In Indonesia Mount Kelud erupted. Some 33 post eruption lahars took place from Feb 15-mar28 and more than 30 people were killed with hundreds injured.
Links: Indonesia, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Jun 3
Mount Unzendake in southern Japan erupted and left 43 people dead and nearly 2,300 homeless. The dead included volcano experts Maurice and Katia Krafft.
Links: Japan, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1991 Jun 12
The Mount Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines began erupting for the 1st time in 600 years. [see Jun 15]
Links: Philippines, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Jun 15
Mount Pinatubo (4,750 feet high) exploded in a cataclysmic eruption. Due to early warning 56,000 people were evacuated and only 450 people died. The eruption forced the closure of Clark Air Force Base in Angeles City and displaced hundreds of families of the Aeta tribe. [see June 12]
Links: Philippines, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Jun
Mount Unzendake in southern Japan erupted and left 43 people dead and nearly 2,300 homeless.
Links: Japan, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Aug
Chile’s Hudson Volcano erupted in Aisen province. It launched a cubic mile of ash and piled ash 18 inches (45 cm) high killing an estimated 1.5 million sheep on the Argentine side of the Andean mountain chain.
Links: Chile, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991
Volcanic eruptions occurred in the Galapagos Islands.
Links: Chile, Volcano     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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