World’s stunning volcanoes

With fiery molten channels that stretch far below the surface, volcanoes connect us to the very core of the Earth.  Active or dormant —— they resonate with an energy and beauty beyond that of mere mountains.  Their violent origins also tend to create “stunning natural landscapes” that attract sightseers from around the world.


SANTORINI, Greece :  Best known for the stark white-painted buildings that cling to is multi-coloured cliffs, this Greek island is the remnant of a VOLCANIC CALDERA, formed around 1600BC, when one of the largest eruptions, in recorded history, wiped out most of the island, including some of the original settlements.. Today, Santorini attracts visitors who are eager to admire what’s left.  To feel how majestic it is, you have to sail inside (the CALDERA) and stand at a balcony on the edge of the cliffs at sunset.  In particular, visitors should seek out the “uninhabited” NEA KAMENI which lies within the flooded SANTORINI CALDERA.  The Caldera is itself a kind of ugly black-brown blob in the centre of a picturesque, truly gorgeous caldera.

Mount Mayon

MOUNT MAYON’S steep cone is built from many layers of lava flows.  The “perfect hyperbolic shape underlines (its) threatening posture.  The ash and lave flows are just the “cherry on the top”.


MOUNT KILIMANJARO & NGORON CRATER, Tanzania :  MOUNT KILIMANJARO, at its dizzying height of 5,895m, is Africa’s tallest mountain, an also the Continent’s tallest volcano.  It is unique in the fact that it has 3 “volcanic cones”


MAMENZI & SHIRA (both extinct) and the highest one KIBO which is still active and lets off occasional steam and gases.  NGORON CRATER, the world’s largest crater used to be a towering peak (4,500-4,800m tall) until it collapsed on itself. Today it is 22.5km in diameter and 610m deep —— a unique environment for local wildlife.  Waterfalls coming down the caldera irrigate green pastures and fill a lake, at the bottom, full of flamingos and a huge fauna on its shores : lion, hippos, buffalos, zebra, gnus and rhinos.

Mount Kelimutu

MOUNT KELIMUTU, Indonesia :  It’s 3 “mysterious crater lakes” attract both scientists and visitors to the island of FLORES in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province.  One lake is “emerald green”, another “dark red” and the third “pitch black.”  Scientists say the colours come from the chemical reaction that occurs when the “volcanic gases” meet the “lake’s minerals.”  The eeriness, surrounding the lakes, which according to lore is a “reservoir of souls” remains, despite the scientific explanation of the colours.

Mount Kilauea

KILAUEA & MAUNA KEA, Hawaii :  The youngest volcano, in Hawaii —— KILAUEA, has been erupting continuously since 1983, so much so that the lave falls straight into the sea, creating fantastic forms of lack rocks and insane smoke clouds.  At the other end of the spectrum, MAUNA KEA, is around 1 million years old.  It sits dormant, still impressing with its sheer size rising 4,205m from the sea.  It is both incredibly beautiful and home to secret treasures, including a “sacred frozen lake” near the summit, accessible only by a 6-mile, 10-hour round trip.  You can find snow in the winter and almost zero crowds.


MOUNT FUJI, Japan :  Perhaps the world’s most famous symmetrical strato-volcano is Japan’s MOUNT FUJI, which has served as a muse for many artistic creations through the centuries.  It is the “national symbol” of Japan —–snow-capped, looming in the distance, cherry blossoms in the forefront.  Not only is the mountain itself beautiful and mysterious, but the AOKIGAHARA forest on the north-west base of the mountain also inspires the imagination, as many local folk tales describe the demons and goblins that haunt within..  At least, the mountain itself remains a safe haven ——- the low-risk active volcano hasn’t erupted since 1707.  Its symmetrical cone serves as a dramatic backdrop to Tokyo.


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