Oldest Active Volcanoes in the World

10 Oldest Active Volcanoes in the World

Volcanoes are natural phenomena that are found in almost every corner of the world. Volcanic eruptions have been recorded for thousands of years, and scientists have also discovered evidence of eruptions from tens of thousands of years ago. Although most volcanoes today are dormant rather than active, there are still many volcanoes that remain active to this day.

Some remain so because they are geologically young and have not yet reached their potential eruption point, while others remain active because they sit above a hotspot or another “hot” area. With that in mind, here is a list of the 10 oldest active volcanoes in the world.

10. Kilauea Volcano

Years of Existence: Around 100,000 years ago
Country: USA
Latitude/Longitude: 19.4069° N, 155.2834° W
Elevation: 1,247 m

Kilauea Volcanophoto source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Kilauea Volcano is located on the Big Island of Hawaii. Kilauea is a shield volcano that has been erupting continuously since 1983. It was formed by a hotspot, which is a mantle plume that rises to the surface and causes magma to build up in the upper mantle.

The most recent eruption began on May 3, 2018, and lasted for 22 days. The eruption destroyed 50% of the island’s homes and took more than 1,200 lives. The volcano has erupted several times before, but this eruption was unprecedented in its size and scope.

Did You Know?

The Hawaiian island of Kilauea is located in the middle of the island chain known as the Big Island. It is named for the Goddess Pele, who is said to live there.


9. Fuego Volcano

Years of Existence: Around 230,000 years ago
Country: Guatemala
Latitude/Longitude: 14.4747° N, 90.8806° W
Elevation: 3,763 m

photo source: Euronews

Fuego Volcano is located in Guatemala. It is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America. The volcano’s name means “fire” in Spanish, and it erupted several times between 1747 and 1874.

The volcano was last active in 1822 and 1874 when it erupted several times. During those periods, lava flowed out of the summit crater and onto the surface of the volcano, causing many deaths as well as destruction of houses and other property.

The volcano is still active today, but it has not erupted since 2009.

Did You Know?

The volcano has erupted at least 24 times since 1780; the last eruption was in 2013.


8. Etna Volcano

Years of Existence: Around 300,000 years ago
Country: Italy
Latitude/Longitude: 37.7510° N, 14.9934° E
Elevation: 3,357 m

Etna Volcanophoto source: eos.org

It’s been said that the Etna Volcano is the most active volcano in Europe. It’s located in Sicily, which is a peninsula in Italy. Etna is considered to be a very active volcano because it has been erupting since about 1600 BCE. It has had more than 100 eruptions since then. It also has a long history of eruptions, with some dating back to 1783 BCE, making it one of the oldest volcanoes in all of Europe.

The area where Etna is located is also very interesting because it’s not as dry as other areas of Italy, which makes for an interesting landscape for visitors who are looking to see something different from what they’ve seen elsewhere in Italy (or Europe).

Did You Know?

The area around Etna has many small towns and villages that have been around since the ancient times, when people lived near Etna because it was so useful—it provided heat and light during the winter months when other methods weren’t available).


7. Taupo Volcanic Zone

Years of Existence: Around 300,000 years ago
Country: New Zealand
Latitude/Longitude: -39.28, 175.57
Elevation: 452 m

Taupo Volcanic Zonephoto source: Kamloops Trails

The Taupo Volcanic Zone is a volcanic belt in New Zealand. It is located on the North Island and covers the area between the Tararua Ranges in the west and the Kaingaroa Ranges in the east. The zone extends northwards to include Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand’s tallest active volcano.

A number of large eruptions have been recorded from this zone, including a massive eruption in 1866 that ejected 1,100 km3 of ash, making it one of the largest eruptions of all time. A second major eruption occurred in 1886, which resulted in an ash fall covering much of central New Zealand, causing damage to crops and livestock as far away as Auckland and Hamilton.

Did You Know?

Taupo is also home to some of the country’s most impressive and accessible geothermal features. These include hot springs, mud pools, thermal areas, and even geysers!


6. Loihi Seamount

Years of Existence: Around 400,000 years ago
Country: USA
Latitude/Longitude: 18.9200° N, 155.2700° W
Elevation: 975 m

Loihi Seamountphoto source: volcanohotspot

Loihi Seamount is a submarine volcano that lies in the Pacific Ocean. It was formed approximately 400,000 years ago and is located near Hawaii. It is a shield volcano, meaning it has a broad base of overlying lava flows that can be seen on its surface.

The volcano’s peak rises to more than 2,000 meters (6,560 feet), but most of its mass lies below sea level at the summit area. The island of Hawaii is located about 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) south of Loihi Seamount and has been inhabited for thousands of years.

Did You Know?

It sits just off the coast of Maui and is almost completely surrounded by water. It can be seen from space!


5. Merapi Volcano

Years of Existence: Around 400,000 years ago
Country: Indonesia
Latitude/Longitude: 7.5407° S, 110.4457° E
Elevation: 2,910 m

Merapi Volcanophoto source: The Jakarta Post

Merapi Volcano is a volcano located in East Java, Indonesia. The volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia and has been since 1756. It is one of only two volcanoes that have erupted more than once in recorded history (the other being Mount St. Helens).

The volcano is located on the border between East and West Java and is a popular tourist attraction because of its diverse fauna and flora, including tigers, elephants, rhinos, deer, monkeys, and many other species.

Did You Know?

It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and has erupted more than 130 times since it was first discovered by Europeans. The last eruption occurred in 2010, killing more than 30 people.


4. Pavlof Volcano

Years of Existence: Around 400,000 years ago
Country: USA
Latitude/Longitude: 55.4203° N, 161.8931° W
Elevation: 2,515 m

Pavlof Volcanophoto source:  csmonitor.com

Pavlof Volcano is located in Alaska and is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It has erupted more than 100 times since 1879, and it’s still going strong! There are a lot of interesting facts about Pavlof Volcano, including the fact that it’s been known as “The Gateway to the Last Frontier” since 1792!

It’s also home to the largest glacier in North America and some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll ever see. The volcano is surrounded by ice and snow for most of the year, which makes it difficult to observe from space.

Did You Know?

Pavlof is also famous for its caldera—a circular depression caused by a collapse of the volcano’s dome during an eruption. The caldera is around 2 miles across and 1 mile deep.


3. Taal Volcano

Years of Existence: Around 500,000 years ago
Country: Philippines
Latitude/Longitude: 14.0113° N, 120.9977° E
Elevation: 311 m

photo source: Bria Homes

Taal Volcano is located in Batangas, a province on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It’s an active volcano that has erupted over 35 times since its last eruption in 1614. Its last eruption was in 2005, and it’s been dormant since then. The volcano has been active since 400,000 years ago and has had several eruptions since then.

The last eruption occurred in 2020, which caused damage to Taal Lake and surrounding areas. It is one of only three volcanoes in the world to have a lava lake within its crater. The other two are Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Kilauea in Hawaii.

Did You Know?

The volcano is surrounded by a large caldera called Matutum caldera, which formed after an eruption back in 1610.


2. Mt. Pinatubo

Years of Existence: Around 1.1 million years ago
Country: Philippines
Latitude/Longitude: 15.1429° N, 120.3496° E
Elevation: 1,486 m

photo source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Mt. Pinatubo is a volcano located in the Philippines, just north of Manila. It last erupted in 1991, but it’s still an active volcano, and it’s been very quiet for a long time.

The mountain is known for having a thick layer of ash covering it, which makes it one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The area around it is also very lush and green—it’s one of the only places in the world where you can see tropical forests growing on top of volcanic mountains.

The volcano was formed by two different eruptions: the first one occurred somewhere between 1511 and 1514, and then again between 1541 and 1543; these two eruptions were so powerful that they left behind tens of thousands of ash deposits that are still visible today!

Did You Know?

The eruption killed about 9,000 people and caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage to agriculture and infrastructure near the volcano’s base.


1. Mt. Unzen

Years of Existence: Around 2.5 million years ago
Country: Japan
Latitude/Longitude: 32.7805° N, 130.2672° E
Elevation: 1,486 m

Mt. Unzenphoto source: Wikipedia

Located on the island of Kyushu in Japan and forming around 2.5 million years ago, Mt. Unzen is considered the oldest active volcano in the world. 

It has erupted several times in its history, most recently in 1984. The mountain has been used as a source of sulfur to make gunpowder since the Edo period (1603–1868). The Sulfur Mining Museum, which houses the remains of workers killed by toxic fumes at the mines, is located at the base of Mt. Unzen.

The museum was built around the year 2000 to commemorate those who died during World War II when they were forced to work in sulfur mines as part of their wartime efforts to provide weapons for their countrymen’s use against Japanese invaders during that conflict period in Japanese history

Did You Know?

It is famous for its dramatic caldera, which was formed when Mt. Unzen erupted in 1783. The caldera is filled with boiling hot water and steam that rises from the ground, forming a natural spa that has been used for centuries by locals to relax and get relief from their aches and pains.

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