Volcanoes can be harmful to life and property. Several events caused from volacanoes can be very hazardous.


Supervolcano is the popular term for a large volcano that usually has a large caldera and can potentially produce devastation on an enormous, sometimes continental, scale. Such eruptions would be able to cause severe cooling of global temperatures for many years afterwards because of the huge volumes of sulfur and ash erupted. They are the most dangerous type of volcano. A supervolcano is capable of producing a volcanic eruption with ejecta greater than 1,000 cubic kilometers (240 cubic miles). This is thousands of times larger than most historic volcanic eruptions.

Volcanologists and geologists do not refer to "supervolcanoes" in their scientific work, since this is a blanket term that can be applied to a number of different geological conditions. Since 2000, however, the term has been used by professionals when presenting to the public. The term megacaldera is sometimes used for calderas with supervolcano characteristics, such as the Blake River Megacaldera Complex in the Abitibi greenstone belt of Ontario and Quebec, Canada. Eruptions that rate VEI 8 are termed "super eruptions".

Supervolcanoes occur when magma in the Earth rises into the crust from a hotspot but is unable to break through the crust. Pressure builds in a large and growing magma pool until the crust is unable to contain the pressure. This kind of eruption is typically sufficient to cause a long-lasting change to weather (such as the triggering of an ice age) sufficient to threaten the extinction of species, and cover huge areas with lava and ash.

Though there is no well-defined minimum explosive size for a supervolcano, there are at least two types of volcanic eruptions that have been identified as supervolcanoes: large igneous provinces and massive eruptions. Although there are only a handful of Quaternary supervolcanoes, supervolcanic eruptions typically cover huge areas with lava and volcanic ash and cause a long-lasting change to weather (such as the triggering of a small ice age) sufficient to threaten species with extinction.

Caldera name Country Location Size
La Pacana Chile 23.10 S
67.25 W
60 x 35 Pliocene
Bolivia 21.45 S
67.51 W
50 x 40 8.3 Ma
Kari Kari Bolivia 19.43 S
65.38 W
30 Unknown
Cerro Galan Argentina 25.57 S
65.57 W
32 2.5 Ma
Awasa Ethiopia 7.18 N
38.48 E
40 x 30 Unknown
Toba Indonesia 2.60 N
98.80 E
100 x 35 74 ka
Tondano Indonesia 1.25 N
124.85 E
30 x 20 Quaternary
38.55 S
176.05 E
40 x 30 500 ka
Taupo New
38.78 S
176.12 E
35 1,800 yr
Yellowstone1 USA-WY 44.58 N
110.53 W
85 x 45 630 ka
La Garita USA-CO 37.85 N
106.93 W
75 x 35 27.8 Ma
Emory USA-NM 32.8 N
107.7 W
55 x 25 33 Ma
Bursum USA-NM 33.3 N
108.5 W
40 x 30 28-29 Ma
USA-OR 42.0 N
117.7 W
33 ~16 Ma
Socorro USA-NM 33.96 N
107.10 W
35 x 25 33 Ma
116.5 W
30 x 25 11.6 Ma
USA-TX 29.9 N
104.5 W
30 x 20 32-33 Ma
Long Valley USA-CA 37.70 N
118.87 W
32 x 17 50 ka
greater Maly
Russia 54.11 N
159.65 E
50 ~50 ka
greater Bolshoi
Russia 54.5 N
160.00 E
48 x 40 ~50 ka
Russia 55.7 N
157.75 E
44 x 40 ~50 ka
Russia 51 N
157 E
~40 300 ka
Russia 51.8 N
157.54 E
~35 ~50 ka