There are hundreds of volcanoes on the continent of Africa, but rarely do we hear of a catastrophic eruption occurring. There have been a few whoppers over the centuries, but the majority of volcanoes are long-dormant or outright extinct. However there are a few active ones, but their lava-and-ash outbursts have generally been on the small side. Here are 12 volcanoes in Africa which have most recently blown their tops.
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This article originally appeared on AFKInsider.com.
Fogo, Cape Verde
This most recent volcanic disaster off of the mainland of West Africa caused the destruction of two villages, 1,500 residents of Portela and Bengeira fleeing from the lava flows. The first eruption of Pico do Fogo was on November 23rd, 2014, and after four days of quiet the outburst began again. By December 9th, the lava flow had subsided.
Mount Cameroon, Cameroon
In February 2012, West Africa’s most recurrently active volcano, also called “Fako” or “Mongo ma Ndemi,” erupted, emitting ash but causing little danger to the area.
Before that two eruptions occurred only miles apart in 2000, with flowing lava reaching dangerously close to the town of Buea.
Mount Cameroon is part of the Cameroon Volcanic Chain, where in 1986 a disaster occurred at Lake Nyos. Nearly a million tons of naturally occurring carbon dioxide spread thick around 16 square miles of the valley, suffocating and killing over 1,700 people.
Nyamuragira, First Eruption, Democratic Republic of Congo
Africa’s most active volcano which experiences an eruptive event every two years or so last came alive on November 6, 2011. Fountains of lava spewed upwards of 650 feet, while ash and smoke covered Virguna National Park. It was the volcano’s largest eruption in over 100 years.
On June 12, 2011, a volcano in Eritrea’s Nabro region began spewing lava and ash over hundreds of miles, affecting the Afar state of neighboring Ethiopia the most. Several thousand people were displaced by the disaster, and over 31 casualties were reported. It was the first recorded eruption of the volcano in human history.
Ol Doinyo Lengai, Tanzania
In July 2007, earthquakes measuring up to 6.0 on the Richter scale shook Nairobi, hypothesized as a result of heavy magma flow through the volcano. On September 4, Ol Doinyo Lengai erupted, covering 11 miles of the surrounding landscape in ash.
Geologists who climbed the majestic mount on February 11, 2011 witnessed lava eruptions and steam emissions. An overflight in October of that year photographed two separate lava flows and a lava pool forming.
Manda Hararo, Ethiopia
A series of Shield Volcanoes — ones made from lava flows — Manda Hararo has experienced two major known eruptions. In August of 2007, locals evacuated while lava violently spewed and flowed for three days, covering much of Ethiopia and Sudan with a sulfur dioxide plume. In July of 2009, an even bigger eruption occurred near the 2007 site, although there was less of an immediate threat to the surroundings.
On November 3, 2008, near the lava lake in the volcanic center of Alu-Dalafilla, an eruption occurred. Subsiding and then ceasing only five days later, subsequent satellite images have shown that little has changed in the lava flow since November of 2008.
At 7,750 feet, the peak of Karthala is the highest point of the Comoros Islands off of Eastern Africa’s coast. In April of 2005, an eruption caused a mass panic and a temporary exodus of over 30,000 residents and tourists. A crater lake which had formed in the 1991 eruption was altered from the blast.
In May of 2006, residents of the city of Moroni reported seeing lava flowing at the volcano’s top. Activity ceased soon after.
In January of 2007, seismic activity and another eruption took place. Ash clouds were seem over the summit.
In May of 2012, residents of the villages Mkazi and Mde reported seeing a fiery glow on the slopes. Since then, no reported activity on the mountain.
On September 26, 2005, a significant earthquake shook the surrounding area of the Afar Triangle, a very potently volcanic region which also includes the Erta Ale volcano. Dabbahu’s only recorded eruption in history created a smoke cloud which covered the area for three days, as well a gigantic fissure now called the Dabbahu Fissure.
Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of the Congo
This stratovolcano (one built up of many layers of hardened magma, pumice, and ash) hosted a lava lake for nearly 100 years before the crater walls cracked in 1977 and lava flowed down the mountain, killing at least 70 people.
Then in 2002, a fissure opened at the south end of the volcano, spreading lava down into the city of Goma and covering most of the city’s airport. One hundred and forty-seven people died from buildings collapsing; about 15 percent of Goma was destroyed, leaving thousands of people homeless.
Marion Island, Prince Edward Islands, South Africa
South Africa’s only active volcano in human history. Like Hawaii, the island itself is formed from two shield volcanoes that rise above the surface. The first eruption was recorded in 1980, largely unnoticed by the local population. The last recorded minor spurt was in 2009, although she is still active and has been for 18,000 years.
Located about 62 miles from Djibouti City, this fissure vents volcano (lava spews out of linear vents) was dormant for nearly 3,000 years before erupting in November of 1978 after an earthquake. 25 fissures opened up and two lava flows took place.