Devastating seismic activity has been recorded all over the world. Unfortunately, volcanic activity can also be affected by shifting of tectonic plates.
The shifting of tectonic plates well beneath the surface can loosen lava and build pressure underground, leaving only one route for the lava to escape – volcanoes.
Here are five volcanoes that could burst into life soon.
Yellowstone volcano, USA – While the Yellowstone national park in Wyoming is stunningly beautiful, with brightly coloured sulphuric hot springs and erupting geysers, it packs a mighty punch.
The Yellowstone Caldera supervolcano last erupted 70,000 years ago but a recent unexpected spike in seismic activity around the globe has unsettled nerves.
If the volcano were to erupt, it could cause global catastrophe, particularly in the US where it would instantly kill 87,000 people and make two-thirds of the country immediately uninhabitable as the large spew of ash into the atmosphere would block out sunlight and directly affect life beneath it.
The massive eruption would be a staggering 2,000 times as powerful as the one from Washington’s Mount St Helens in 1980 which killed 57 people and deposited ash in 11 different states and five Canadian provinces.
Mount Paektu, North Korea – Mount Paektu once underwent one of the most devastating eruptions in history in 946AD when it erupted so powerfully that it formed a five-kilometre caldera at its summit and produced enough ash that it even showered Japan – almost 1,100km away.
Once again the volcano, which straddles the boarders of North Korea and China has shown signs that it is active again.
Scientists have issued stark warnings saying it needs to be monitored as a matter of urgency, claiming the threat is “very real”.
Such has been the fear around Mount Paektu that it has sparked a rare collaboration with North Korea and the West, with the largely secretive nation inviting scientists from the UK and US to help study it.
Six seismic stations that measured energy from nearby earthquakes to see how it affected Mount Paektu.
They found an explosion there could rate at a seven on the Volcanic Explosively Index, a study published in Science Advances said. Anything above eight on this scale could cause worldwide devastation.
Stephen Grand, a seismologist at the University of Texas at Austin, said: “I think the risk of a destructive eruption here is very real.”
Mauna Loa, USA – While Hawaii is another scenic location, it is also home to the world’s biggest volcanoes.
Mauna Loa, located on the Island of Hawaii, has not erupted since 1984 and is long overdue an eruption having blown 10 times in the 20th century prior to this.
The US’s National Park Service said of the massive volcano: “When Mauna Loa erupts, voluminous, fast-moving lava flows can reach the ocean in only a few hours, severing roads and utilities and repaving the volcano’s flanks along the way.
“Since 1843, Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times, most recently in 1984, when lava flows reached to within four miles (6.4km) of Hilo.”
Popocatépetl volcano, Mexico – Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano is situated just 70km, and has shown recent signs of activity recently, like this video shows.
The last time El Popo, as it is locally known, went through a major eruption was in 2000, and had it not been for some preventative evacuations, up to 41,000 people could have died.
It has been recently simmering into life with eruptions that ejected such a sheer volume of ash that it showered down on the nearest town of Puebla, causing the airport to shut down. Officials have urged nearby residents to wear face masks. The ash cloud could be seen from Mexico City.
Mount Vesuvius, Italy – Perhaps one of the most famous volcanoes having caused one of the most deadly eruptions in human history.
Mount Vesuvius, located in Campagnia, last erupted in 1944 and usually has an eruption cycle of every 20 years, meaning that it has been building up for almost four times that amount.
It is the most densely populated volcanic region in the world, with three million people living in the nearby city of Naples.
However, it is perhaps most famous for its massive eruption in 79AD when it spewed lava so violently and at such a quick speed that it completely consumed the local cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, preserving the latter so perfectly that scientists have been able to recreate the residents last moments.