Deadly Volcanoes

  • By Susan K. Lewis
  • Posted 11.01.05
  • NOVA

Over the past four centuries, volcanoes have killed more than a quarter million people. Most victims perished in a handful of epic disasters and were killed not by searing lava but rather by secondary causes in the wake of an eruption—mudflows, tsunamis, and starvation. As the following history shows, saving lives in the future will require not just scientific forecasts but also the resources to evacuate those in danger.

Launch Interactive Printable Version

Explore some of the worst volcanic disasters of the past 400 years—from Indonesia's Krakatau to Iceland's Laki.

This feature originally appeared on the site for the NOVA program Volcano Under the City.


Special Thanks

C. Dan Miller, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory
Chris Newhall, USGS at University of Washington


(Tambora illustration)
© Greg Harlin: Wood, Ronsaville, Harlin Inc.


© Charles O'Rear/CORBIS
(St. Pierre ruins)
Courtesy of Dr. Alwyn Scarth/Terra Publishing
(man in mud)
© Reuters/CORBIS
(Unzen volcano)
Courtesy of Mike Lyvers
© Yann Arthus-Bertrand/CORBIS
© Bettmann/CORBIS
© Alberto Garcia/Corbis Images

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