3 – Vesuvius in 79 AD Ranks Way Down the List of History’s Deadliest Eruptions
Although it might be the most famous, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD was far from being the most deadly. The estimated death toll varies from 1,500 – 3,500 according to some historians though others believe up to 16,000 people died in 79 AD. Even if we take the highest possible figure, however, the legendary eruption only ranks #5 on the all-time list of deadly volcanic eruptions ahead of Mount Uzen.
The 1792 eruption of Mount Uzen in Japan is the deadliest in the nation’s history. If the initial eruption wasn’t bad enough, it was compounded by a landslide and tsunami. Up to 15,000 people died, most of them because of the landslide and tsunami. You can still see evidence of the landslide in the area today. The eruption of Nevado Del Ruiz in Colombia in 1985 is the most recent event in the top 5. It was only considered a medium-sized eruption yet it resulted in the deaths of 23,000 people. It happened at night and covered the town of Armero.
The eruption of Mount Krakatoa in 1883 possibly rivals that of Vesuvius regarding fame. The volcano, located on the island of Krakatoa in Indonesia, caused two-thirds of the island to collapse and it resulted in a death toll of 36,000. The explosion was so loud that it was heard in Australia and there were incredible sunsets around the planet for several months afterward.
The 1902 eruption of Mount Pelee in the West Indies caused the deaths of 40,000 people. A number of eruptions began taking place from April 25 which culminated in the huge one on May 8. The volcanic eruption destroyed the city of St. Pierre, and there were only two survivors. The eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia remains the deadliest ever with 92,000 deaths. It happened over five days in April 1816 and was so severe that the volcano’s height was reduced from 13,000 feet to 9,000 feet. The effects were felt worldwide to the point where 1816 became known as the year with no summer because the ash reduced the global temperature. The eruption also led to crop failures which killed up to 100,000 people.