What Continent Has No Active Volcanoes? Facts You'll Want To Know

Joan Agie
Oct 17, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Oct 25, 2021
Westernmost Point Of The Australian Continent

Volcanoes located closer to plate boundaries are at a greater risk of eruption.

You surely remember how excited you were while you learned about molten hot lava in school. Some of you may have even prepared science projects on erupting volcanoes in the past, using food coloring, vinegar, and baking soda. 

Most volcanoes occur at the tectonic plate boundaries. There are two types of plate boundaries that generate volcanic activity: divergent plate boundaries and convergent plate boundaries. We know that this is how the new volcanic islands, like the small Surtsey island located in the Atlantic ocean, were created by natural means. 

In this piece, you will find answers to all your questions about volcanoes: what are their types, what continent has no active volcanoes, what are the hazards associated with a volcano and earthquakes, a list of volcanic eruptions that occurred years ago, and many other things. 

After reading about the categories of volcanoes and the risk they pose, you will want to know more about facts about Hawaii and get answers to where does magma come from?

Why are there no volcanoes in Australia?

Active volcanoes are generally present near the major tectonic plate boundaries. They are rarely found in Australia. In Australia, there are no plate boundaries. With the movement of the continent northwards from the plate boundaries, the stationary hot spot is formed of volcanoes, which are located further past South Australia. 

The Australian mainland has no volcanoes, but in Victoria, South Australia, Queensland has several extinct volcanoes or dormant volcanoes which were active millions of years ago. Mount Gambier Blue Lake and Mount Schank are Australia's most active volcanoes in recent history (over 5,000 years). There are around 400 volcanoes alongside the stretch of Melbourne to Mount Gambier. 

The United States ranks third in the number of volcanoes present. It is after Indonesia and Japan. This rank is given according to the number of historically active volcanoes. In fact, in the US, around 10% of the 1,500 volcanoes have erupted in the past decade. The US has about 169 potentially active volcanoes. 

About 80% of the Earth has a volcanic origin. The gaseous emissions, which were from the volcanic vents, started a million years ago, some more. These are the supplies of the vital ingredients that are required by life to thrive here.

Kilauea, a volcano in the US, is ranked the highest within the threat category. It poses the greatest threat in the US.

Here is the list of some of the volcanoes which pose a threat. They are: Kilauea (Hawaii), Mount St. Helens (Washington), Mount Rainier (Washington), Redoubt volcano (Alaska), Mount Shasta (California), Three Sisters (Oregon), Akutan Island (Alaska), Makushin volcano (Alaska), and Mount Spurr (Alaska).

What is the 'Ring of Fire'?

The Ring of Fire, also known as the Circum-Pacific Belt, is a pathway alongside the world's largest and deepest ocean, the Pacific Ocean. It is characterized by active volcanoes as well as frequent earthquakes. 

It is a stretch of approximately 24,900 mi (40,000 km); 75% of the planet's volcanoes are present here, which is approximately more than 450 volcanoes. Indonesia's Mount Tambora, whose location is in the Ring of Fire, is known as one of the largest volcanic eruptions that were recorded in the past in 1815.

Territories on the Earth where plates move away from each other are called spreading or divergent plate margins. Magma escapes from vents on the surface of the earth, forming fissures and volcanoes.

Can an eruption at one volcano trigger another volcano's eruption?

Volcanoes erupt when magma rises to the surface. Another way is when the water below the surface interacts with hot magma and creates steam, which creates too much pressure leading to an explosion. 

Research says that there is no specific evidence known that highlights if an eruption at one volcano could trigger an eruption at the other volcano, which may be located hundreds of miles away or even on different continents. 

But In some such cases, it is seen that, though one eruption doesn't actually trigger a nearby volcano to erupt, the moving magma from the erupted volcano finds its way to the surface at various places. 

How many active volcanoes are there on Earth?

Several plates make the Earth's surface The areas on the Earth where these plates are closer to each other are called plate boundaries. According to studies, there are approximately 1,500 active volcanoes on Earth. About 75% of these volcanoes are located on the ocean floor. 

We all are aware of volcanoes and volcanic eruptions. But do they affect the weather? Well, yes, they do have some impact on the climate as well. Volcanic eruptions, during their major explosions, produce huge amounts of volcanic gases, droplets of aerosol, and also the ashes that are ejected into the stratosphere.

Gases that are emitted from the eruptions have both good and bad effects like the sulfur dioxide gas causes global cooling while the carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas, causes global warming. 

Taking an example of the Tambora's volcanic cloud, it lowered the temperature by as much as 37.4° F (3° C) during the eruptions; even after a year, the temperatures were not as hot during the summer months as usual.

Living With Volcano Hazards

Did you know that every continent on the Earth has volcanoes barring Australia, where there are no active volcanoes?

Volcanic eruptions are amongst the Earth’s most dramatic and compelling actions of change. Ash, mudflows, and lava flows can devastate groups close to volcanoes and cause havoc in regions a long way, downwind, downstream, and downslope. 

Even while a volcano is quiet, steep volcanic slopes can disintegrate to turn out to be landslides, and massive rocks may be hurled via effective steam blasts. Hazardous volcanic situations could possibly last for a day or even a million years, all of them leading to threats to people’s safety.

There are dormant volcanoes that have not erupted for a very long time. But there is a chance that they might erupt in the future. Simply put, these volcanoes are not active. There are also several extinct volcanoes that are not expected to erupt in the future. 

Some examples of dormant volcanoes with no records of eruptions are —Mauna Kea in Hawaii, the United States, Mount Edziza in Canada, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and Western Victorian Volcanic Plains located in Australia.

Examples of some extinct volcanoes are Ben Nevis in the UK, Huascaran in Peru, Kyushu-Palau Ridge in the Philippines, and Mount Buninyong in Victoria, Australia.

Each continent has volcanoes, whether active, dormant, or extinct, but there is a presence of volcanoes in every continent. 

The continent of Australia is without any volcanic activities or currently active volcanoes. But it has the most significant number of extinct volcanoes.

The Tweed Volcano located in New South Wales is considered the largest extinct volcano in the world. 

Which Volcanoes can you visit?

We have seen many volcanoes located inside national parks. These volcanoes can be visited by following the rules and regulations of the park. 

Some of the volcanoes which can be visited are Cotopaxi, whose location is Ecuador; Stromboli in Italy, White Island in New Zealand, Arenal in Costa Rica, Sakurajima in Japan, Mount Etna of Italy, Mount Merapi in Indonesia, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, Mount Fuji in Japan, Iztaccihuatl of Mexico, Villarrica in Chile, Sangay in Ecuador, and Mount Rainier in the United States.  

Though Venezuela has got all the requisite factors for the formation of a volcano, the country still does not have a single volcano. 

Every continent in the world has volcanoes. Even Antarctica has plenty of volcanoes. The volcanoes may be extinct or active, but evidence of the existence of volcanoes is there. 

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what continent has no active volcanoes? Then why not take a look at facts about Machu Picchu, or facts about coral reefs.

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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