Volcanoes an ever-present, if usually distant danger

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FILE - In this Dec. 28, 2018, file photo, Indonesian Navy personnel watch as Mount Anak Krakatau spews volcanic materials during an eruption in the waters of Sunda Strait. (AP Photo/Fauzy Chaniago, File)

The eruption of an island volcano in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty killed up to 16 people, injured dozens and prevented rescuers from retrieving the bodies of eight victims believed to be on the island.

A famed tourist attraction, White Island is one of several active volcanoes in New Zealand and one of the thousands of active and dormant volcanoes that encircle the Pacific. Most lie far from major cities and are watched carefully for signs of danger. Normally visitors were permitted to explore White Island's crater.

The 1,500 active volcanoes on Earth are an unpredictable, ever-present hazard. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, more than half of them are in six countries: the U.S., Russia, Indonesia, Iceland, Japan and Chile.


ANAK KRAKATAU, in Indonesia, erupted on Dec. 22, 2018, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 420 people and displaced 40,000. The volcano, whose name means “Child of Krakatau,” grew from the remains of Krakatau, whose 1883 eruption triggered a period of global cooling.


VOLCAN DEL FUEGO, in Guatemala, buried the village of San Miguel Los Lotes in mud and ash in a June 3, 2018, eruption that killed more than 200 people. Its lava flows reached temperatures of about 1,300 Fahrenheit (700 Celsius).