The 5 biggest and most explosive volcano eruptions of all time

La Palma: Volcano erupts and lava flows on Spanish island

The ongoing eruption of the La Palma volcano has reminded many of the threat volcanoes pose, having destroyed more than 2,500 buildings and displaced thousands of people. But thankfully, it doesn’t compare to the worst volcano eruptions of all time. has compared the top five most explosive volcanoes in history.

Mount Vesuvius

The most famous volcano eruption in history, the devastation of Pompeii has captured the modern imagination and become a sight of intense geological research.

In Italy in AD79, the volcano buried the nearby cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

An accurate death toll has never been made, but thousands of bodies were preserved by the ash.

READ MORE: Long Valley supervolcano warning as ‘clues of imminent eruption’


Volcanoes have caused some of the worst natural disasters in history (Image: GETTY)

Pompeii body

Mount Vesuvius is the most famous eruption in history (Image: GETTY)

Mount Ruiz

Mount Ruiz erupted twice on November 13, 1985, devastating a local town.

Mud, ash, lava and water raced down the slope of the volcano and into river channels.

It almost entirely buried the town of Armero, killing an estimated 25,000 people.

Mount Pelee

Mount Pelee wiped out the entire town at its foot (Image: GETTY)


Volcanoes don’t erupt often, but when they do the effects are often deadly (Image: GETTY)

Mount Krakatoa

Indonesia is home to hundreds of volcanoes, some dormant and some active.

In 1883, the multiple eruptions of Mount Krakatoa between the islands of Java and Sumatra killed more than 35,000 people.

Some of the eruptions were so huge, they were heard as far away as Australia.

Mount Tambora

Another of Indonesia’s hundreds of active volcanoes erupted in 1815, causing devastation in the South East Asia region.

The huge eruption is the deadliest ever recorded in human terms, killing some 90,000 people.

The aftermath caused widespread disease and harmed the growth of crops for generations, and even caused climate changes as far away as North America.