Volcanoes in the USA – Types and popular destinations

Volcanoes in America
Volcanoes in America

Hell on Earth with magma and fire

Which U.S. states have active volcanoes?

There are three main categories of volcanos: extrusive, explosive eruptions, and effusive. These can vary from tiny, shallow craters with little activity down to massive stratovolcano systems like Mount St Helens. Some examples include:

ExtrusiveVolcanism – includes lava flows, lahars, tephra, and geysers. Examples include Crater Lake, Oregon, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, and Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

ExplosiveVolcanism – this category covers everything from phreatomagmatic explosions, fissures, ground tilt/slip events, gas emissions, pyroclastic flow deposits, shield domes, and cinder cones. It’s important to note that even though most of these forms of volcanism result in an explosion, it doesn’t mean that the magma chamber isn’t deep enough for hydrothermal processes to occur. An example of
this would be Long Valley Caldera, California.

EffusiveVolcanism – this type of volcano occurs when the molten rock comes out of solution at a significant depth below the Earth’s surface. Effusive vents form along mid-ocean ridges but can happen anywhere if there is sufficient heat and pressure present. Two famous examples of effusive volcanism are Iceland’s Laki and Etna.

Where do volcanoes erupt in the U.S.?

The United States of America is home to a large number of active and dormant volcanoes. The country has more than 5,000 known volcanic features spread over 50 states, including 3,851 currently classified as extinct and 2,942 as potentially dangerous. Most are located on land; however, there are several underwater volcanoes such as Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano that scientists have identified.
There are also many other less well-known or documented locations around the world where volcanoes occur. This video will lead you through all these different types of volcanoes, their characteristics, how they formed, and some fun facts about them, which may be helpful when planning your next vacation!

Where is the best place to go in the USA if a volcano erupts?

Hawaii has the highest density of volcanoes per unit area after Alaska. Hence, it’s no surprise that it has become one of the top destinations for tourists who want to witness an eruption. With close to 30% of the state being made up of volcanoes, visitors are welcome! The State of Hawaii offers “volcano tours” throughout the year, allowing people to get right into the middle of an eruption. Just make sure you wear sturdy shoes because the ash could damage your feet! You might think that something like that couldn’t happen since we live on the mainland, but Mt. Saint Helens erupted twice in my lifetime alone.

Volcanoes in America
Kilauea Crater

Where can you see volcanoes in the U.S.?

Mount Rainier National Park, WashingtonState
Located near Seattle, Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in the contiguous U.S. and happens to be North America’s largest volcano. This means that its summit contains both ice fields and hot springs. As far as human history goes, this makes Mount Rainier older than almost any nation in the world. After looking at images taken in 1886, it was determined that the last time snow covered the peak was between 7,200 and 8,400 years ago. Beginning in February 2013, the mountain saw significant
changes, becoming much brighter thanks to increased rainfall.

Mount Baker Vulcan Monument, Washington

Situated about 60 miles north of Seattle, Mount Baker rises to more than 14,411 ft above sea level. The volcano became active during the Pleistocene epoch approximately 1.5 million years ago. Its current shape dates back to around 11,000 BC. A volcanic field called Baringer Butte lies within the northern part of the park and consists primarily of rhyolitic rocks which date back to 2 billion years ago. One exciting thing about this particular monument is that many Native Americans consider it sacred because they believe that the spirit of a giant sloth lives here.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone is home to some genuinely massive calderas such as Old Faithful Geyser Basin and Grand Prismatic Spring. These two areas together contain more geothermal activity than all other places combined. There are many different features worth seeing, including waterfalls, lakes, beaches, and plenty of wildlife. During the wintertime, cross country skiers come to enjoy the fresh powder under the stars. If you’re visiting Yellowstone, you should check out Mammoth Hot Springs, where thousands upon thousands of gallons of steaming water pour forth daily.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Craters have formed across the United States over millions of years. Some were created by meteor strikes, while powerful earthquakes caused others. When lava cools inside the Earth, it becomes hard and brittle. Over time, these hardened masses may break off from volcanos and roll downhill until they reach groundwater or rainwater. Eventually, when enough pressure builds behind the rock mass, it will
explode through the ground creating a crater. Today, there are hundreds of holes scattered across our planet, with Oregon having the most relative landmass size. However, none compare to the ones found in Crater Lake. It’s located along the Klamath River in southern Oregon and covers just 3 square miles. In addition to being relatively small, Crater Lake has no known faults running through it. Instead, it developed because of an impact on top of another volcano. Due to erosion, the bottom half of the lake disappeared, leaving what we know today.

Hawaii volcano National Park, Hawaii

Home to one of the most significant eruptions ever recorded, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is like no place else in the entire world. It looks like something straight out of science fiction, especially if you think that everything stopped existing after the eruption. For example, look closely at the trees growing next to the fissures. They
seem to defy gravity showing how fast new life continues to grow despite what happened in the past. Just remember: don’t try anything stupid! Like going too close to the edge or trying to touch the molten rock before watching your hand disappear into oblivion. The Hawaiian Islands undergo frequent seismic events, although they haven’t been experiencing recent tremors. That said, sometimes even dormant volcanos get restless.


There are so many amazing natural wonders throughout the world. From mountains, oceans, deserts, caves, canyons, rivers, forests, and much more, each location offers its own unique experience. Whether you want to visit all the volcanoes, you can give it a boost. So, go ahead and start planning your trip now! You’ll be sure to find a few things that make your heart skip a beat.


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