Located on the Italian island of Sicily, Mt. Etna came to life about a half million years ago and has been acting up ever since.
Lest we forget how the Hawaiian Islands came to be there in the first place, Kilauea volcano seems eager to demonstrate the process. A volcanic hotspot in the earth’s mantle has left a 3,600 mile-long trail of islands and submerged mountains in its wake as the Pacific Plate migrates slowly above. While the other 7 islands in the Hawaiian chain are ancient artifacts of long-extinct volcanoes, the Big Island itself is still under construction.
Dual vents on Europe’s largest active volcano send plumes of steam in the direction of Riposto, a town along the eastern coast of Sicily. Mount Etna sits above a geologic hotspot, where the African plate subducts beneath the Eurasian plate. The active, 10,922-foot stratovolcano is about 500,000 years old. This image dates from August, 2014.
Just a few miles from Bora Bora among the Leeward Islands of French Polynesia lie Taha’a and Ra'iātea. The lush, inhabited tropical islands in the middle are remnants of eroded volcanos, while the keyhole-shaped network of turquois fringe encircling them are separate kingdoms altogether –living, evolving coral reef.
Peaking like a periscope above the fog-filled valleys of northern California’s mountainous landscape is Mount Shasta. As its conical shape suggests, Mt. Shasta is a volcano. And not just some dreary old extinct volcano, mind you, but a potentially active volcano that last erupted as recently as 1786.