Link to the Global Volcanism Program Home Page Volcano Photo National Museum of Natural History Home Page

Site and Program Information   »  About Volcanoes of the World 

About Volcanoes of the World


History and Acknowledgements

Web Presentation

For more than three decades the Smithsonian has compiled descriptions of both ongoing and past volcanism around the world in order to better understand the full range of Earth's eruptive activity, and to make these data available to the ever-broadening community interested in volcanism. Two previous hardcopy versions of this data set (Simkin et al., 1981 and Simkin and Siebert, 1994) have been published, but even the latter has been out of print for several years. The development of the world wide web has made possible much wider dissemination of these data in a form that is easily updateable.

Global Volcanism Program webmaster Ed Venzke took the lead role beginning in 1999 in designing these extensive web pages and their querying capabilities and is responsible for all the programming behind these volcano and eruption pages. He also developed and maintains the voluminous web pages that enable rapid access to the eruption summaries of the Smithsonian's Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network.

Computer Programming

Global Volcanism Program computer specialist Paul Kimberly has applied his programming talents to the structure of and access to Smithsonian databases on volcanoes. He has also been responsible for the programming necessary for the interface that has allowed the presentation of these data to visitors using computer interactives in the Smithsonian's Geology, Gems, and Minerals exhibit hall in the National Museum of Natural History. We also acknowledge the important contributions of Paul's predecessors, Jon Dehn, Tom Stein, Roland Pool, and Genyong Peng. Natural History Museum programmer David Bridge, assisted by Kim Clark and Cathy Lawson, provided invaluable assistance during the early years of the project when the file resided on a mainframe computer, and Geneva McClain and Edna Montford provided years of keypunching in the early years of computing technology. Ken McCormick provided computer graphic experience, and Peter Kauslick helped with bibliographic programming. Several CD-ROM projects in recent years disseminating regional VRF data were made possible by the programming efforts of Paul Kimberly and Tina Calvin, with the assistance of Diane Hanley in 1998. The world and regional maps used in this website were prepared by Paul Kimberly.


Since the late 1960s, the gathering of volcano photographs has been an important part of Smithsonian volcanology. The inherently changing nature of volcanic landscapes makes a well-curated collection of photographs particularly valuable in their study. This approach was intensified in 1984, when Tom Simkin made an "Illustrated Volcanoes of the World" a major priority of the new Global Volcanism Program. Since 1995, this effort has been spearheaded by Lee Siebert.

Volcano photos by Smithsonian scientists are supplemented by many other images by volcanologists from U.S. Geological Survey and other organizations around the world. Photographers are acknowledged with individual photo credits, but we wish to further recognize their collective contributions, which have greatly helped to give a visual footprint to the world's volcanoes and their eruptions. Giuseppina Kysar and Paul Kimberly played major roles in transforming slide and print images into digitized ones, and Smithsonian volunteer Stephen Bentley devoted many hours to digitally cleaning these images. Although currently only one image per volcano is displayed, future expansion of this web site will include thumbnail pages allowing access to many more images that highlight volcano morphologies and eruptive processes.

Global Volcanism Program and other Smithsonian staff

Since its informal beginning in 1968, the varied scientific contributions of the Global Volcanism Program (GVP) have been directed until 1995 by Tom Simkin, and after that time by Jim Luhr. A brief summary of the history and goals of GVP and the scientific products of the program can be found in the "Site and Program Information (GVP Info)" section of these web pages.

The Volcano Reference File (VRF), the Smithsonian's database on global volcanism during the past 10,000 years, dates back to 1971, when Barbara Radovich, working as a Smithsonian student intern under the direction of William Melson, outlined the initial basic framework of the file. Many in the Department of Mineral Sciences of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History participated in the initial entry of data from the Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World, an effort sponsored by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI). Lindsay McClelland played a large role in the initial years of the project. He left the Museum for graduate school in 1974 (before returning to work on the Smithsonian's newly created Bulletin of the Scientific Event Alert Network, after which Lee Siebert began a now more than quarter-century-long effort researching and compiling VRF data.

The initial focus on historical volcanism was soon expanded to include Holocene (<10,000 years) volcanism in order to overcome the limitation of the regionally variable duration of historical records and provide more even coverage of the world's active volcanoes. Tom Simkin directed the database project since early 1972 and was the leading force in the production of several important books, papers, and maps disseminating the Smithsonian's volcano data. Jim Luhr assumed directorship in January 1995 at a time of increased emphasis on electronic outreach and major efforts to present GVP data and images for the world's volcanoes to the public in the Natural History Museum's Geology, Gems, and Minerals exhibit, which opened in 1997. Following the unexpected passing of Jim Luhr in January, 2007, Lee Siebert assumed directorship of the Global Volcanism Program.

Kathy Mihm and Daphne Ross assisted with literature search and other tasks during the early years of the project. Cindy Hilmoe, Ken McCormick, Roland Pool, and Genyong Peng drafted and plotted volcano maps. Toni Duggan, Lisa Wainger, and Justin Mog provided assistance with bibliographic tasks. Tom Wright (a former USGS volcanologist working in emeritus status at the Smithsonian) and Paul Kimberly were responsible for the recent extensive programming necessary to link our volcano and eruption references directly to a full bibliography.

Colleagues in the Museum's Petrology and Volcanology Division — Bill Melson, Tom Simkin, Dick Fiske, Jim Luhr, and Sorena Sorensen — have contributed advice, photographs, and encouragement. Additional Smithsonian administrative colleagues such as Ellen Thurnau (who has resolved a host of administrative problems) and Mary McGuigan (who typed countless drafts of text for the first edition of Volcanoes of the World) have provided invaluable support. A succession of archivists — Elizabeth Nielsen, Courtenay Wilkerson, Julia Lewis, and Paul Kimberly — have helped organize the resources on which we all draw. Translation assistance has come from Virginia Wong, Boris Behncke, Cheerie Magalit, Gene Jarosewich, Joe Nelen, and Sabrina Boyer. Several non-Smithsonian scientists, whose names appear in the Data Review acknowledgements below, also provided translation assistance while working under contract at GVP. The recent addition of diacritical marks to mixed-case volcano names, volcano summaries, and photo captions was made possible by the efforts of Alicia Arroyo and Sabrina Boyer.

The retrospective look at Holocene volcanism in Volcanoes of the World is also dependent on documentation of contemporary eruptions, and the important contributions of Global Volcanism Program staff in this area are discussed in more detail in the About Volcanic Activity Reports page.

Colleagues outside the Smithsonian

A global compilation such as Volcanoes of the World necessarily draws on the research and contributions of many individuals and scientific organizations around the world. Volcano lists date back at least to the geographer Varenius in 1650 AD, but the major building block of the Smithsonian's volcano database is the Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World, a series of regional volcano catalogs published by IAVCEI beginning in 1951. New eruptions quickly made these catalogs out of date, and in 1960 IAVCEI promoted the publication of the Bulletin of Volcanic Eruptions to cover global volcanism on an annual basis. These bulletins were published during 1960-1996 by the Volcanological Society of Japan, and have been an important source of more contemporary eruption data, supplementing Smithsonian eruption documentation that began in the late 1960s. Independent data sets provided by volcanologists Bob Decker and Fred Mauk were valuable contributions early in the project, as was subsequent data from a comprehensive independent volcano catalog by John Latter.

A longterm collaboration with Chris Newhall, of the U.S. Geological Survey, began in 1979, when unpublished versions of the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) assignments of Newhall and Steve Self were added to indicate the explosive magnitude of volcanic eruptions. Chris Newhall reviewed the complete first edition, and along with Dan Shackelford, provided us with detailed notes on many volcanoes. We thank them both for their large efforts and the improvements they have brought to the data.

Chris Newhall, Wally Johnson, Bob Smith, Grant Heiken, and Russell Blong have given us thoughtful, helpful counsel on the database through most of its life. Russell Blong was the driving force behind a volcano fatality table that appeared in the 2nd edition of Volcanoes of the World. Marshall Reed of the U. S. Department of Energy's Office of Geothermal Technologies has provided enthusiastic support for CD-ROM projects making Smithsonian volcano data available to the geothermal community.

The data appearing here reflect the critical contributions of many individual scientists involved in monitoring and observing current eruptions and conducting the painstaking field research essential to unraveling the detailed geological history of individual volcanoes. Their invaluable input is noted in the bibliographic entries that provide the sources of the data seen on individual volcano web pages. We also owe a large debt to previous compilers of volcano data, including those preceding the generation of the IAVCEI volcano catalogs.

We have benefited from funding supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey (Volcano Hazards Program), the U.S. Department of Energy (Office of Geothermal Technologies) and NASA (Volcano-Climate Interaction Program), and we thank these organizations for their support. Our greatest support has come directly from the U.S. Congress in the form of line-item funding for the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program. This support has enhanced our eruption reporting, helped establish a permanent archive for maps, photographs, and documents, and greatly improved our computer-intensive operations.

In the Data Reviews acknowledgements below, we list some of the many people who have contributed reviews or data to full regions or parts of regions. The use of italics (visible using most browsers when style sheets are enabled) singles out those who have reviewed large segments (in some cases all) of their region's entries. We also acknowledge the important roles of many other contributors (not mentioned here) who sent reprints or otherwise alerted us to additions and corrections to individual entries.

Data Reviews

Europe and Middle East: Jörg Keller, Jean Tanguy, Roberto Scandone, Claudia Principe, Jean Feraud, Guy Camus, Romolo Romano, Vicente Arana, J-M Mallarach, James Mellaart, Oskar Ermann, Frank Clover.

Africa: Giday Woldegabriel, Celia Nyamweru, Pierre Vincent, Martin Smith, Peter Dunkley, Paul Mohr, Chuck Wood, Craig Feibel, Jörg Keller.

Indian Ocean: Laurent Stieltjes, Guy Camus, Graeme Wheller, JP Poirer, Reginald Briggs, Alta Walker, Chuck Wood.

New Zealand to Samoa: John Latter, Bruce Houghton, Jim Cole, Paul Taylor, Stan Hart, Brad Scott, Peter Rodda.

Melanesia: Wally Johnson, Chris McKee, Malcom Sheard.

Indonesia: George de Neve, Tom Casadevall, Eddie Effendi, Liek Pardyanto, Kaswanda, Haroun Said, Nanang Rahardja, David Sussman, Chris Newhall, Roy Torley, Pierre Vetch, Peter Jezek, Sutikno Bronto, Ruska Hadian, Pat Dobson, I Supriatman, Adjat Sudradjat, Dali Ahmad.

Philippines and SE Asia: Chris Newhall, Olimpio Peña, John Wolfe, Toti Corpuz, Espie Del Mundo, Maricar Carmen Arpa, Jim Whitford-Stark.

Japan, Taiwan, Marianas: Toshio Higashino, Masaki Takahashi, Yoshiro Sawada, Dick Moore, Toki Tiba, Hiroki Kamata, Yukio Hayakawa, Yasuo Miyabuchi, M Nishiwaki, T Nota.

Kurils: Genrich Steinberg, Andre Tsvetkov, Ed Erlich, A Antonov.

Kamchatka and Mainland Asia: Ed Erlich, Jim Whitford-Stark, Vera Ponomareva, Yuri Doubik, Oleg Volynets, Sergei Rasskazov, Ming Zhang, Jiaqui Lui, Jim Gill, Alexander Belousov, William Kidd, Geoff Wadge, Oleg Dirksen, Xiang Liu, P Novograblenof.

Alaska: Chris Nye, Tom Miller, Steve McNutt, John Reeder, Klaus Jacob, Juergen Kienle, Bruce Marsh, Game McGimsey, Tina Neal, Cheryl Cameron.

Canada: Cathy Hickson, Neil Church, Ben Edwards.

Continental United States: Dave Sherrod, Dan Miller, Michael Clynne, Frank Monastero, Roy Bailey, William Elston, Michael Ort.

Hawaii and Pacific Islands: Jack Lockwood, Tom Wright, Jacques Talandier, Hans Barsczus, Dave Sherrod.

Mexico and Central America: Jaime Incer, Larry Feldman, Jorge Barquero, Guillermo Alvarado, Mike Carr, Bill Rose, Jim Luhr, Steve Nelson, Mark Defant, Antonio Rivera, Jim Reynolds, Sam Bonis, Alfredo MacKenney, Dick Stoiber, William Melson, Gerardo Carrasco-Núñez, Jorge Aranda, Ben van Wyk de Vries, Carlos Pullinger, C Demetrio Escobar, Eduardo Malavassi, Andrei Borgia.

South America: Hugo Moreno, Pete Hall, Bernardo Beate, Shan de Silva, Maria Eugenia Petit-Breuilh, Moyra Gardeweg, BA Klinck, Steve Porter, John Guest, Tui De Roy, Cindy Stine, Gerhard Wörner, A Parodi-I, J Egred, Norm Banks, Guido Salas.

West Indies: Alan Smith, Keith Rowley, Haraldur Sigurdsson, Philippe Bouysse, John Shepherd, Jan Lindsay.

Iceland and Jan Mayen: Sigurdur Steinthorsson, Paul Imsland, T Siggerud.

Atlantic Ocean: Dick Moore, Paco Pérez, Klaus Mehl, Steve Self.

Antarctica: Wes LeMasurier, Phil Kyle.

Requests for Further Information

Please continue to send us reprints, copies of old documents, maps, photographs, as well as additions and corrections to the data on these pages. Including either original sources or a reference for data sources wherever possible is important to us in facilitating the incorporation of new data. Although staffing limitations often preclude individual response to comments, every communication is valued and we will do our best to evaluate it for possible incorporation into our database as it grows. Additions and corrections may not appear immediately on this web site; major updates will appear annually within the first few months of each year, along with occasional updates at irregular intervals. This kind of feedback, which can be sent by email, is important in building a better record of global volcanism that will benefit us all.


The digitized photos appearing here are an important resource for documenting Earth's volcanoes and their eruptions. The photos are available for scientific or educational use; however, we lack the staff to serve as a clearing house for volcano photos. We suggest that potential users of the photos contact the original sources whenever possible. Non-scientist users should contact Kealy Wilson, who handles the logistics regarding requests for use of Natural History Museum images (, 202-275-1497). Proper credit should be given in all cases to the photographer (along with his/her affiliation) when using images.

Our volcano image archive is an important component of the Global Volcanism Program, and we are actively expanding our coverage of imagery of the world's volcanoes. Our archive emphasizes images taken by volcanologists, and we solicit additional images from scientific colleagues of those volcanoes they have worked on or observed. However, we also welcome contributions from others who could help fill in gaps in our coverage.

Images are acceptable in several forms—duplicate slides, prints, or electronic images. We prefer to have a "hard copy" 35 mm slide or print that can be used as a resource by visiting scientists, but recognize the increasing emphasis on digitized images. For electronic images, we generally use a .jpg format with the minimum requirements of 1400 x 950 pixels at 300 dpi in 24-bit true color. These images are about 1-1.5 megabytes, so they can be quite large to send as an e-mail attachment and are best sent on a CD-ROM or by FTP.

For each image a brief description, year taken (more specific date if an eruption shot), the direction the photo was taken from (for landscape views), and the photographer's name would be useful. We request that anyone sending images print, sign, and return a permission form authorizing use of the images in electronic and other outreach media. As noted on the permission form, the photographer and their affiliation will be credited for all uses.

Citation Guidelines

The data in the Volcanoes of the World section of these web pages have been compiled by Smithsonian volcanologists over the past three decades and represent an updated electronic version of the data contained in Simkin and Siebert (1994). The volcano and eruption data are freely available, although users are strongly cautioned to consider the many uncertainties attending data on volcanoes and their eruptions as discussed in the "Data Criteria" pages and in the "Frequently Asked Questions" section. For most general uses, data should be attributed to the Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program. For formal scientific citation of the Holocene volcano and eruption data, please use the following:

Siebert L, Simkin T (2002-). Volcanoes of the World: an Illustrated Catalog of Holocene Volcanoes and their Eruptions. Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program Digital Information Series, GVP-3, (

The dash after the year indicates a non-static document that is updated in subsequent years. When citing website documents such as this, adding the access date at the end of the citation provides chronological context for the citation.

For citation guidelines for the detailed reports of current volcanic activity linked to in this section (which appear separately under the "Volcanic Activity Reports" part of these web pages and are an updated version of a compilation for the years 1975-1985 published in McClelland et al., 1989), see About Volcanic Activity Reports.

Global Volcanism ProgramDepartment of Mineral SciencesNational Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian Institution

Copyright  |   | Privacy  |