Volcanoes helped shape the face of the earth. Some of the most famous volcanoes have become popular tourist destinations. During your stay, you can take your own photos of the volcano or buy postcards that show flaming eruptions. Tourists visiting volcanic sites have the opportunity to learn about volcanoes. A visit to a volcano can teach important things like how lava is formed, how it flows and how to react in case of volcanic emergency.
Mount St. Helens is one of the most famous volcanoes in North America. In 1980, one early summer morning in May, Mount St. Helens was shaken by an earthquake that measured 5.1 on the Richter scale.
The earthquake caused an avalanche that caused the north face of the mountain to collapse and triggered the eruption of the volcano. The nine-hour eruption dramatically changed the landscape around the mountain and destroyed nearly 230 square miles of forest. The large mushroom shaped cloud that rose from the mountain plunged a beautiful sunny day into darkness, as ash fell over eastern Washington and drifted aimlessly on the wind for miles.
Since the 1980 eruption, Mount St. Helens has become one of the most popular volcanic vacation destinations. Climbing passes sold by Mount St. Helens Institute allow climbers to reach the crater's rim.
Vesuvius, Italy is another famous destination for those who enjoy visiting volcanic sites. Vesuvius is responsible for the 79 A.D. destruction of the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii.
Vesuvius is a stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano. Stratovolcanoes are composed of many layers of hardened lava, tephra and volcanic ash. The lava from a stratovolcano hardens more quickly than other cinder cones or shield volcanoes. Many molds, both human and animal, exist in the ruins of Pompeii. They tell an amazing story of the effect of the volcanic eruption that destroyed much of the area.
Also in Europe, the Canary Islands have quite literally become some of the hottest vacation destinations in the world.
The Canary Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands. The most recent eruption was only about 35 years ago on La Palma. Lanzarote, the easternmost Canary Island, is volcanic in origin. Lanzarote is a favourite summertime destination for millions of people per year.
Around 1100 B.C. the Phoenicians settled on Lanzarote. The Canary Islands were abandoned after the fall of the Roman Empire. New settlers arrived from Arabia in 999 A.D., and a new era was underway for the islands.
The years between 1730 and 1736 saw a series of volcanic eruptions that created 32 new volcanoes.
Mount Katmai in Alaska was once a cluster of smaller volcanoes. Katmai's 1912 eruption was the largest eruption in North America in this century. The eruption lasted 60 hours and ash covered more than seven cubic miles. Lava flowed up to 15 miles and filled an adjacent valley, producing the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.
In the nearby town of Kodiak, people reported not being able to see a lantern held at arm's length for two days. A caldera was formed from the withdrawal of magma from beneath the cluster of volcanoes. A lake has now partially filled the caldera. The 1912 eruption was ten times more forceful than the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption.
World-wide, at least 1,500 volcanoes are potentially active. This century, 380 of those have erupted. At least 15 have been in a state of nearly constant eruption in recent years.
Between 1975 and 1985, an average of 56 volcanoes erupted each year. Tourist attractions have been built at many of these locations. Most include videos of the latest eruptions as well as pamphlets and other informative materials.
For holiday information about the volcanic island of Lanzarote hotfoot it over to yourlanzarote.net