Nowadays, we hear of volcanic eruptions killing people and displacing others and while that is terrifying and saddening, it is a lot better than past eras when it was impossible to accurately predict when a volcano would belch scorching hot lava. In those times, volcanoes killed tonnes of people and even destroyed entire settlements. Below, we’ll examine some of the deadliest volcanic eruptions known to man.
Tambora, Indonesia (1815)
This was known as the largest ever recorded volcanic eruption ever. Tambora ruined an entire civilization causing starvation and disease that took out almost 100,000 human lives. Not only that, but it ensured that no crops grew in its aftermath and the ash and sulphur combined to block out the sun. Furthermore, its effects were so far-reaching that places like Europe and North America experienced summertime snow because of Tambora.
Krakatau, Indonesia (1883)
Unfortunately, Indonesia has been the site of not just one, but two massive volcanic eruptions. Krakatau is located miles west of Tambora and the volcanic eruption was so potent that ash was blown as far as Singapore. Over 35,000 lives were lost as a result of the eruption which also caused waves to engulf the shores and drown scores of people. The eruption was so loud that many countries around the world were reported to have heard the sound.
Just like with Tambora, dust and ash covered the sky, blocking out the sun and lowering temperature.
Pelée, Martinique (1902)
Unlike some of the other entries on this list, the 1902 eruption in Pelée was preceded by a massive migration of insects and snakes into the town in a bid to escape the impending doom. Within minutes a loud blast could be heard and it was the last sound that some 30,000 people heard as they died from a combination of the blast, suffocation and burns. This entry is sadder as our knowledge of volcanoes was so limited that no one thought to evacuate the town after the migration of the snakes and insects. With modern technology, such a tragedy is now avoidable as there will be more warning signs besides snakes.
Ruiz, Colombia (1985)
This is the most recent entry on the list, however, it still took out over 20,000 people. Two explosions expelled a tremendous amount of mud and ash that proceeded to bury a small town called Armero. Lives were lost, as a result another mudslide struck the nearby town of Chinchiná.
Unzen, Japan (1792)
Mother nature really let loose in 1792 as a landslide coupled with a tsunami triggered an eruption of mount Unzen. That wasn’t all as the eruption then triggered an earthquake which ravaged Japan and caused a landslide to decimate the city of Shimabara. As if that was not enough, the landslide reached the Ariake Sea and caused giant, destructive waves.The impact of the landslide can still be seen today and small eruptions around mount Unzen cause unrest as it is now home to a lot of people.