Sinabung volcano in western Indonesia slumbered for some 400 years before roaring awake in August 2010. Since then, its fiery rampages—as shown here in April 2015—are a reminder of its location on the so-called ring of fire. This disjointed zone of tectonic plate collisions around the Pacific Ocean hosts about 75 percent of the world’s active volcanoes.
- Photo Gallery
Dramatic photos of volcanoes in action around the world
Fiery displays of Earth’s power, volcanoes are helping scientists decipher our planet’s inner workings and the ways eruptions shaped life on the surface.
From incandescent rivers of molten rock to columns of billowing ash, nothing showcases Earth’s fiery power like a volcano.
One volcano is not like another, and these images capture their dynamic range. Some burst in massive explosions, others burble with liquidy lava. By studying every burp, shiver, and blast of these geologic giants, researchers hope to decipher their past and peer into the planet’s potential futures.