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Expand chart
Data: The Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

At least 404 terrestrial volcanoes have erupted since 1883 — the year of Krakatoa's historic eruption. Nearly 200 of these eruptions have occurred since the year 2000. These eruptions have varied in size and effects. Some are downright cataclysmic, like the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington, while other eruptions are much smaller, frequent and localized. Kilauea, the shield volcano now causing destructive lava flows in Hawaii, has erupted 95 times since 1883.

How to read this chart: Each volcano with a confirmed eruption during or after 1883 is represented on the chart by a shape. The size of the shape and its order on the chart correspond to the volcano's elevation above sea level. The color corresponds to how many eruptions have been observed since 1883 — cooler colors mean fewer eruptions, while the hotter colors indicate more frequent eruptions.

The shape itself corresponds to the type of volcano:

  • Stratovolcanoes: These volcanoes, which are also known as composite volcanoes, have a steep profile. They tend to have frequent explosive eruptions featuring a mix of lava and pyroclastic material. This is the most common type of volcano on Earth, with roughly 60 percent falling into this category.
  • Shield volcanoes: These volcanos are the largest on Earth and tend to have a sloping profile with eruptions that consist almost entirely of lava. Hawaii's Mauna Loa and Kilauea are both shield volcanoes.
  • Calderas: These are formed when a volcano erupts with such force that it causes the summit to collapse into the partially empty magma chamber below. Krakatoa is an example of a caldera volcano.
  • Other: This category covers just about everything else, from pyroclastic cones to lava domes and other varieties.

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