The oldest active volcano on Earth is the Hawaiian volcanic field, which has been erupting for about 2.5 million years. The Hawaiian Islands are all less than 6 million years old and the oldest island is Kauai, which is only 5 million years old.
The next oldest active volcano on Earth is Santorini, also known as Thera, which erupted in the mid-1600s BCE (Before Common Era) and destroyed the Minoan civilization.
There are other volcanoes that were active in the past but are no longer active today. These include:
The Yellowstone Caldera in Wyoming, USA (about 2 million years old). The last eruption was 640,000 years ago but there was a large-scale eruption 1.3 million years ago that produced rhyolitic lava domes and rhyolite ash flows (called rhyodacite by geologists). The caldera itself could be considered an inactive volcano because it hasn’t erupted since this time period despite ongoing geothermal activity from its magma chamber below it.
Mount Etna on Sicily (about 1 million years old). It’s currently erupting but hasn’t been continuously erupting since its last major eruption in 1669 CE (Common Era).
Last modified: November 16, 2022