Volcanic eruptions are frightening and terrifying because
they can kill people in so many ways - choking ash, flowing
lava, floods, landslides, mudslides, burning natural gas,
shock waves, earthquakes and tsunamis caused by drainage of
dyke-breaking lakes. Even if it's not a sudden volcano, also
it is deadly.《Wired》 magazine reported several major volcanic
eruptions that caused major deaths.
The eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980
Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, which was the largest
volcanic eruption in the history of the United States with the
largest number of casualties and the worst economic damage
(the 1912 Katmai volcano eruption in Alaska was the largest
volcanic eruption in the history of the United States). The
eruption of Mount St. Helens killed 57 people, including
volcanologist David Johnston, who was observing the eruption.
The eruption also destroyed 250 homes, 47 Bridges, 24km of railways
and 300km of expressways. The eruption of ash and debris reached
2.3 km³, leveling vegetation and buildings in the vicinity of 600 k㎡,
the largest in recorded history. The collapse of the Northern Slope of
the mountain mixed ice, snow and water to form volcanic mud flows.
Mudslides have moved thousands of meters along the Toutle and Cowlitz
Rivers, destroying Bridges and logging grounds along the way. A total
of 3 million m³ of material was transported by mudslides to the Columbia
River 27km to the south. The explosion was triggered in part by a huge
landslide, which rapidly lowered the pressure of volatile-rich magma.
1991 Pinatubo volcano eruption
On June 9, 1991, after more than 600 years of silence, Pinatubo volcano,
located in Luzon Island, Philippines, erupted violently at an altitude
of 1436 m, ejecting lava of about 4.9 km³. Ash, sand, rock and steam
from the volcano shot up to 32km into the sky. In two weeks, more than
700 casualties and more than 200,000 people fled their homes, resulting
in losses of 5 billion pesos. A 5 cm thick layer of volcanic ash was
formed when flying ash fell everywhere, covering nearly 4,000 k㎡ of
land, resulting in 3,000 k㎡ of farmland no harvest, 70 k㎡ of forest
destroyed in a moment. Volcanic ash has even fallen far into Indonesia,
Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hainan, Fujian province and Taiwan, etc.
Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD
Vesuvius is one of the most famous volcanoes in Italy and even the world,
located in the southeast of Naples with an altitude of 1281 m. Its most
famous eruption was a massive eruption on August 24, 79 A.D, the hot
pyroclastic flows destroyed the richest city with a population of 20000,
Pompeii, at that time, several other famous coastal cities, such as Hekuranim
and Stabia, were also severely damaged, resulting in at least 3,360 deaths,
possibly as many as 16,000 deaths. The volcano spewed black clouds of smoke,
the blazing ashstone rained down, and toxic gases poured into the air. Only
a quarter of Pompeii's residents survived, and the rest were either buried in
volcanic ash, asphyxiated by smoke or crushed to death by collapsed buildings.