History has seen some monstrous eruptions of volcanoes, from Mount Pinatubo’s weather-cooling burp to the explosion of Mt. Tambora, one of the tallest peaks in the Indonesian archipelago.
The sudden eruption of Mount Ontake kills more than 60 people in Japan’s worst volcanic disaster in nearly 90 years. The 3 067 metre (10 121 feet) Ontake is packed with hikers when it erupts without warning in September
Also in Japan, the Unzen volcano kills 43 people when it erupts in 1991.
At least 16 people are killed on the island of Sumatra in February by a spectacular eruption of Mount Sinabung, which had lain dormant for 400 years before roaring back to life five months earlier. In 2016 villages are scorched and farmland devastated after another eruption kills seven.
One of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes, Mount Merapi, explodes on the densely populated central Java island, killing more than 300 people in its most powerful eruption since 1872. Some 280 000 people are evacuated. Another eruption in 1930 killed 1,300 people, while yet another killed more than 60 in 1994.
A tsunami following a volcanic eruption killed at least 168 people when it slammed without warning into popular beaches around Indonesia’s Sunda Strait on Saturday night, cutting a swathe of destruction and triggering mass panic as it swept inland.
2002: DR Congo
The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo destroys the centre of Goma town, along with several residential areas, and kills more than 100 people.
At least 34 people go missing after a sudden volcanic eruption causes mudslides that bury five Andean villages northeast of Lima.
The capital of the small British colony, Plymouth, is wiped off the map and 20 are killed or left missing in avalanches of hot rock and ash clouds when its volcano erupts.
1996: The Philippines
At least 70 are killed and another 30 missing after the crater of the Parker volcano in the south of the island of Mindanao collapses. Five years earlier the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of the capital Manila, kills more than 800.
The explosion of Indonesia’s Krakatoa volcano in 1883 is considered the worst ever seen. The eruption sent a jet of ash, stones and smoke shooting more than 20 kilometres (12 miles) into the sky, plunging the region into darkness, and sparking a huge tsunami that was felt around the world. The disaster killed more than 36,000 people.
The most famous eruption in history is that of Mount Vesuvius in modern-day Italy in 79 AD, which destroyed the towns of Herculaneum, Stabiae, and Pompeii, wiping out an estimated 10 percent of the population of the three cities.