Volcanoes are a fissure or opening of the Earth’s surface that allow for hot molten rock, ash and gasses to escape when the pressure build up becomes too great. Such eruptions are incredible and powerful displays of the power of nature, and they are some of the most exciting and fascinating places on Earth as a result. Active volcanoes in Europe attract a lot of attention because they represent such an awesome power, and such a terrible risk, and because they often have marvelous histories surrounding them.
To be classified as active a volcano must have erupted within the last 10,000 years. This is of course an arbitrary definition however and it demonstrates how it would be theoretically possible for a dormant or even extinct volcano in many cases to become active once again.
The most famous active volcanoes in Europe are those situated in Italy. One of these active volcanoes in Europe is Mount Vesuvius. Mount Vesuvius is incredibly famous for the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompei and Herculaneum – and a visit to the area features museums that display the petrified residents frozen in state trying to outrun or shelter from the lava. This is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous active volcanoes in the world, and a monument to their colossal power. The most recent volcanic eruption here was in 1944. In the case of a full blown eruption millions of people would potentially be affected and hence a plan for evacuation exists in these areas.
Close behind and still in Europe is Mount Etna which is on the coast of Sicily. Another is Mount Stromboli. If you want to see one of the active volcanoes in Europe actually erupting then this is the place to visit as it has been constantly erupting for the past 2,00 years. Viewed at night it is possible to see bright red arcs cast in the sky as chunks of lava are blasted out of the volcano.
Not all of the active volcanoes in Europe though are situated in Italy. For instance Mount Hekla is an example of an active volcano Iceland. This is another huge volcano and during the BC era it had such a huge eruption that it actually altered the climate in the northern regions of the entire planet. The most recent eruption was in 2,000 and lasted for 14 days.