Which Countries Don’t Have Volcanoes? We Find Out

Volcanoes make a stunning addition to the world’s natural landscape. They make up a huge part of the tourist industry, with individuals keen to visit these magical sights. Volcanoes such as Mount Fuji, Mount Tambora, and Thera draw in thousands of visitors each year.

Volcanoes are a fascinating phenomenon and there is a lot to learn about why some erupt and why some remain dormant. It is also interesting to discover where most volcanoes lie and why some countries don’t have any at all. We delve into the wonderful world of volcanoes to discover all the answers.

Mount Vesuvius

Technically speaking, all continents on earth have volcanoes in some form. However, Australia has no active volcanoes. This is due to the continent not being near the tectonic plates due to landscape movements over the years. These volcanoes no longer erupt due to a lack of lava.

What is a Volcano?

It is not unusuall to hear about volcanoes in the news from time to time. How often do we skim the news story or listen without really understanding what a volcano is? Let’s put its definition into the simplest form.

A volcano exists in gaps within the earth’s crust. Within this gap, there may be lava, volcanic ash, and gases – all of which have the potential to escape. When a volcano erupts, this means there has been added pressure to the usual equilibrium. This pressure arises from the dissolved gases which manifest as liquid magma.

This magma will rise, eventually reaching the earth’s surface. What happens after this point depends entirely on the amount of gas and other chemicals within the magma. In some cases, the gases will allow the bubbles to escape and flow. Other times, the magma is more resistant and doesn’t have the potential to flow as easily.

Volcanic eruption

Which Country has the Most Number of Volcanoes?

The US has the most number of volcanoes. With 173 volcanoes, most of these based in Alaska. The most active volcano in the world exists in the Kilauea volcanic mountain. This one has erupted continuously since 1983 and is considered a high threat.

Kīlauea is an active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands

Volcanoes are considered a high threat when they meet specific criteria:

  • If there is a lot of internal activity within the opening.
  • How near the volcano is to populations that are considered significant.

18 of the US volcanoes are considered a high threat and 5 of these are based in Alaska.

During the most recent point of reference (the Holocene period), there are more than 1500 volcanoes that have erupted during the last 11,500 years.

Which Other Countries Have a High Number of Volcanoes?

Along with the US, there are other countries with a high number of volcanoes.

  • Russia: 166 volcanoes
  • Indonesia 139 volcanoes
  • Iceland: 130 volcanoes
  • Japan: 110 volcanoes
  • Chile: 104 volcanoes
  • Ethiopia: 57 volcanoes
  • Papua New Guinea: 53 volcanoes
  • Philippines: 50 volcanoes
  • Mexico: 43 volcanoes

What Countries are Unlikely To Experience a Volcanic Eruption?

Have you ever wondered why some countries are prone to volcanic eruptions and others seem unaffected? It is all down to the Pacific Ring Of Fire. This ring of fire is situated around the Pacific Ocean, close to countries including the Philippines, Japan, and New Zealand.

The Pacific Ring of Fire

With this in mind, those countries not in the proximity of the ring of fire will be unlikely to ever see volcanic eruptions.

Such countries include:

  • Russia
  • Australia
  • Greenland
  • Brazil
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Andorra
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Qatar
  • Great Britain

Why There is no Volcano in Australia?

You do not hear of volcanic activity in Australia and the reason for this is quite simple. For there to be volcanoes present, they need to be close to the major tectonic plates. This term refers to the earth’s outermost layer which is broken up into parts, to form plates. These plates move over hot spots which cause volcanic eruptions.

Australia does not have any of these plate boundaries which is why you do not hear about volcanoes here. Australia does have a few volcanoes though, and it boasts one of the world’s largest extinct volcanoes. No volcanoes on the mainland have erupted since the European settlement.

What Kind of Volcano will Never Erupt Again?

When we talk about volcanoes, we can categorize them into 3 types:

  • Active (they have recently erupted).
  • Dormant (have the potential to explode but haven’t in a long period).
  • Extinct (not expected to erupt again, not erupted for over 10,000 years).

Based on these classifications, extinct volcanoes will never erupt again. For a volcano to erupt, there needs to be a flow of magma present. If there is no magma then there will be no volcanic activity. The plates move gradually which means the heat source is also removed.

What is the only Country on Earth without an Active Volcano?

Whilst there are many counties without an active volcano Australia is the only continent that doesn’t boast one. However, to make this more interesting, there are some active volcanoes off the continent but still considered Australian territory. These are situated on Heard Island and the McDonald Islands. Australia is also home to one of the largest extinct volcanoes in the world.

Which Continent has no Volcanoes?

Australia is the only continent with no volcanoes. There are no plate boundaries, therefore, can have no volcanic activity. There is evidence that at some point in the past, there were eruptions. However, over time as the landscape changed and shifted, the continent moved further away from the earth’s plates. The closest volcanoes to the Australian continent are present in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Zealand.

Which Continent has the Most Volcanoes?

When considering the concentration of volcanoes in comparison to the size of the area, Antarctica has the most volcanoes. A study in 2017, found 91 volcanoes that had not previously been discovered. This brought the total number of volcanoes in the Antarctic continent to 138. These are all present in one specific area called the West Antarctic Rift System.

Every continent has volcanoes and it is thought that there are approximately 1,500 still active. The Ring Of Fire makes up 75% of the world’s active volcanoes, 10% of these being in the US. The worrying aspect of the number in Antarctica is the potential threat to the ice if they were to erupt.

Do Volcanoes Erupt Underwater?

What about those volcanoes not on land? Can volcanoes out at sea erupt? Volcanoes underwater behave differently from the ones on dry land. Submarine volcanoes, as they are known, exist under the surface of the water. You don’t often hear about volcanoes out at sea erupting and this is because typically, they don’t.

The fact that they lie under the weight of the water stops them from exploding lava everywhere. This means that even if a submarine volcano is active, you won’t witness the lava as it would flow along the sea bed instead. It is suspected that there may be more underwater volcanoes than those on land.

What an underwater volcano may look like

In Conclusion: Which Countries Don’t Have Volcanoes?

Some countries have no proof of volcanoes. These include Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela, the UK, and Ireland.

Below is the full list of countries with no known volcanoes:

  • Canada
  • Greenland
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
  • Switzerland

Countries, such as Australia, have no active volcanoes. This is due to its proximity to the two layers of the Earth’s crust, otherwise known as the lithosphere. This means there are no potential hot spots under this location and no hot spots equal no eruptions.

Countries within the realms of the ring of fire are prone to volcanic activity. This is because there is lava and hot spots. With the right conditions, volcanoes can erupt, spilling their lava.

Whether or not the country will have active volcanoes all comes down to location. The Ring of Fire spreads in a horseshoe shape and covers a distance of 40,000km in length and 500km in width. It includes areas such as South and North America and islands in the western Pacific.

Related Questions

Which Country has no Natural Disasters?

In 2021, Qatar was announced as the safest country from natural disasters. This is based on the World Risk Index of 2021. This is due to the sheltered nature of the country, protected from cyclones and the like. Other safe countries are Malta, Saudi Arabia, Grenada, and Barbados.