Sakurajima blows its top in January 1914, in the biggest eruption in Japan's history. An exploring party races away from the danger.
The historic blast was preceded by hundreds of earthquakes in the surrounding area. Today, the volcano is still among the most active on Earth.
Sakurajima's first recorded eruption was in A.D. 708, although geologists say the volcano first became active about 13,000 years ago, inside a much older volcanic crater. Today its cone rises 3,664 feet (1,117 meters) above Kagoshima Bay (map) off the southern coast of the island of Kyushu.
Although volcano science has advanced considerably over the past century, many unexplained mysteries remain, and those who live near the volatile features are still sometimes caught off guard. The following photos represent the best images of volcanoes from National Geographic's archives, as chosen by a leading photo editor. (Related pictures: "America's Ten Most Dangerous Volcanoes.")
—By Brian Clark Howard, photo gallery by Sadie Quarrier
Our All-Time Favorite Volcano Pictures
National Geographic digs into its archives to find the most stunning and surprising photographs of volcanoes around the world.