6 Volcanic Eruptions that changed The World

We tend to think that humans can have the most disruptive impact on the planet. As these volcanic eruptions show, that’s really not the case.

Mount St. Helens(1980)


On May 18, 1980, the rumblings of Washington’s Mount St. Helens finally culminated in an eruption that lasted nine hours — and with a force 500 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The mountain lost 14 percent of its elevation and the blast killed everything within 230 miles. 57 people died as a result, making it the most deadly volcanic eruption in U.S. history. But compared to eruptions throughout world history, it’s practically nothing.

Almost 26 years to the day after Mount St. Helens’ eruption, reports of seismic activity beneath the volcano imply that the lava is rising again — are we in for another eruption? Perhaps an even more devastating one?

It’s wouldn’t be the first time a massive volcanic eruption shaped the course of human history — it wouldn’t even be the first time that the same volcano erupted twice in human history. Here are five volcanoes that blew their tops and rocked the world.

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