2015: The Year in Volcanic Activity

Once again, it has been a particularly eventful year for the world's volcanoes. Out of an estimated 1,500 active volcanoes, 50 or so erupt every year, spewing steam, ash, toxic gases, and lava. In 2015, erupting volcanoes included Mount Etna in Italy, Wolf volcano in the Galapagos Islands, Cotopaxi in Ecuador, Villarrica in Chile, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai in Tonga, Mount Sinabung in Indonesia, Piton de la Fournaise on Réunion Island, Kilauea on Hawaii, Momotombo in Nicaragua, Colima in Mexico, and Calbuco in Chile. Collected below are scenes from the wide variety of volcanic activity on Earth over the past year.

A ‘dirty’ thunderstorm with volcanic lightning, as Italy’s Mount Etna erupts on December 3, 2015. The image was captured by merging five separate images in sequence
Marco Restivo / Demotix / Corbis

The night sky is lit up in Sicily as explosions and ash emissions are seen from Mount Etna's Voragine crater, on December 3, 2015
Marco Restivo / Demotix / Corbis

Lava flows run into ‘Valle del Bove’ near Mount Simone on Italy’s Mount Etna, on May 16, 2015.
Antonio Zanghì / Demotix / Corbis

The Wolf volcano spews smoke and lava on Isabela Island, in this May 25, 2015 photograph provided by the Galapagos National Park. A volcano perched atop one of Ecuador's Galapagos Islands erupted in the early hours of May 25, local authorities said, potentially threatening a unique species of pink iguanas. 

View of the Cotopaxi volcano spewing ashes, from the city of Sangolqui, Ecuador, on August 29, 2015. The volcanic activity began August 14, after 138 years of silence
Martin Bernetti / AFP / Getty

The Villarrica volcano is seen at night in Pucón, Chile, on May 10, 2015. Villarrica, located near the popular tourist resort of Pucon, is among the most active in South America
Cristobal Saavedra / Reuters

The Villarica volcano erupts near Pucón, Chile, on March 3, 2015.
Lautaro Salinas / AP

The Villarrica volcano, partially covered by clouds near Pucón, Chile, on May 19, 2015.
Cristobal Saavedra / Reuters

The Villarrica volcano under an overcast sky, from Pucon town, Chile, on July 25, 2015.
Cristobal Saavedra / Reuters

This view taken on January 17, 2015, from a boat at sea shows a frigatebird flying on the thermals from the new vent as steam and gas rise from the eruption of a volcano, some 65 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of the South Pacific nation, Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa. The Tongan volcano has created a substantial new island since it began erupting in December, spewing out huge volumes of rock and dense ash that has killed nearby vegetation, officials said on January 16. The Lands and Natural Resources Ministry said the volcano was erupting from two vents, one on the uninhabited island of Hunga Ha'apai and the other underwater about 100 meters offshore. 
Mary Lyn Fonua / AFP / Getty

Ash spews from Mount Sinabung during an eruption as seen from Beras Tepu village in North Sumatra province, Indonesia, on June 29, 2015. More than 10,000 people from 12 villages, who were living around the slopes of Mount Sinabung, left their homes and moved to refugee camps, local media reported.
Beawiharta / Reuters.

People watch as Mount Sinabung ejects ash into the air during an eruption in Karo Regency, Indonesia, on February 9, 2015.
Endro Lewa / Antara Photo Agency / Reuters.

A church is dwarfed by Mount Sinabung at the abandoned village of Simacem, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on November 16, 2015. The village is located within an area which, following the eruption of the volcano, has been declared too dangerous to inhabit, forcing its residents to abandon their homes. 
Binsar Bakkara / AP.

A pyroclastic flow hurtles down the slopes of Mount Sinabung, seen from the village of Tiga Kicat, on June 20, 2015.
Ulet Ifansasti / Getty.

A man rides a motorcycle as Mount Sinabung spews ash, seen from Tiga Kicat village on June 20, 2015.
Ulet Ifansasti / Getty

A person looks at the Piton de la Fournaise volcano in eruption on February 5, 2015, in the French Indian Ocean island of Réunion Island. This is the second eruption in the past year at Piton de la Fournaise after 3 years of quiet.
Fabrice Wislez / AP

A helicopter flies overhead as lava flows out of the Piton de la Fournaise volcano as it erupts on May 17, 2015, on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean.
Richard Bouhet / AFP / Getty

Lava erupts from the Piton de la Fournaise “Peak of the Furnace” volcano, on the southeastern corner of the Indian Ocean island of Réunion on August 1, 2015.
Ben Curtis / AP.

Lava flows out of the Piton de la Fournaise volcano on July 31, 2015.
Richard Bouhet / AFP / Getty

The moon rises as molten lava erupts from Piton de la Fournaise, one of the world's most active volcanoes, in this picture taken July 31, 2015, on Reunion Island. 
Gilles Adt / Reuters

Lava erupts from the Piton de la Fournaise, one of the world's most active volcanoes, on July 31, 2015.
Gilles Adt / Reuters

One of many small breakouts of lava in the Puna region near Pahoa, Hawaii, on January 26, 2015. A lava flow from Kilauea threatened the district of Puna for months, largely slowing in 2015.
U.S. Geological Survey / AP.

Smoke rises from the Kilauea volcano at night in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, on November 4, 2015. 
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

The Momotombo volcano spews a large plume of gas and ash as seen from the rural community of Papalonal, in Leon, Nicaragua, on December 2, 2015. Quiet for many years, the volcano emitted some glowing rock on Wednesday, after gas and ash emissions began the day before. In 1610, the city of Leon was destroyed during an eruption of the Momotombo and was relocated west.
Esteban Felix / AP

Lava flows down the banks of the Colima Volcano, also known as the Volcano of Fire, near the town of Comala, Mexico, on July 10, 2015.
Sergio Tapiro Velasco / AP

The Calbuco volcano is seen erupting from Puerto Varas, Chile, on April 22, 2015. The volcano erupted billowing a huge ash cloud over a sparsely populated, mountainous area in southern Chile.
Carlos F. Gutierrez / AP

The Calbuco volcano erupts near Puerto Varas, Chile, on April 22, 2015.
Carlos F. Gutierrez / AP

Calbuco volcano erupts near Puerto Varas, Chile, on April 22, 2015.
Diego Main / AP

The Calbuco volcano erupts on April 22, 2015. Due to the eruption of the volcano with a smoke column 20 kilometers high, authorities declared a red alert and ordered the evacuation of around 1,500 inhabitants of Ensenada, Alerce, Colonia Río Sur, and Correntoso towns.
Alex Vidal Brecas / EPA / Corbis

Smoke and ash rise from the Calbuco volcano as seen from the city of Puerto Montt, on April 22, 2015. 
Sergio Candia / Reuters

Lightning swarms in the ash column as Calbuco volcano erupts near Puerto Varas, Chile, on April 23, 2015. 
David Cortes Serey / AP

Volcanic lightning above the erupting Calbuco volcano on April 23, 2015, viewed from Frutillar, Chile.
Martin Bernetti / AFP / Getty

Night view of Calbuco volcano from Puerto Varas, Chile, on April 24, 2015. 
Martin Bernetti / AFP / Getty

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