Vote for the 2018 Pliny for Volcanic Event of the Year

By Erik Klemetti | December 20, 2018 1:52 pm
Agung in Indonesia erupting in November 2017.

Agung in Indonesia erupting in November 2017.

It’s that time of year to vote for the 2018 Pliny for Volcanic Event of the Year. We’ve had a lot of volcanic action worldwide this year and you can see some of the highlights in this compilation from the Atlantic or by checking out this year’s Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports from the Global Volcanism Program.

So, as usual, I look to you all to cast a ballot the Pliny. Send me (rockyplanetblog at gmail), tweet me (@eruptionsblog #2018Pliny) or leave a comment with your top 3 volcanic events for the year and I will compile the votes. Look for a post around the end of the year for a countdown of the most exciting and dangerous eruptions from the year that was.

Just to remind everyone, last year’s winner was Agung in Indonesia.

Other winners include

2009: Sarychev Peak, Russia
2010: Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland
2011: Puyehue-Cordón Caulle, Chile/Argentina
2012: Tolbachik, Russia
2013: Etna, Italy
2014: Holuhraun-Barðarbunga, Iceland
2015: Colima, Mexico
2016: Bogoslof, Alaska

Get voting! Ballots are due December 29!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Rocky Planet, Science, Science Blogs
  • Chris DeVries

    Here are my 3 (and I’m pretty sure the top 2 are a lock for most people, though maybe not in the order I have them…we’ll see):

    1) Fuego, Guatemala has to be the winner, for its unexpected, destructive and (most importantly) deadly June eruption (I usually vote based on fatalities, and if there are none that year, then destructiveness)

    2) Kilauea, USA, for the impressive nature of the grand finale to its nearly 36-year-long eruption, which captured the attention of US and international media in a way few volcanoes have (or can)

    3) Kadovar, Papua New Guinea, for being the new kid on the block, with zero confirmed eruptive history until its 2018 eruption


    Honorable Mentions (I know these won’t count, but it’s been a pretty awesome year for volcanism with eruptions that would have figured in the top 3 in previous years that now are relegated further down the list)

    Soputan, Indonesia (because it hampered relief efforts for the earthquake and tsunami that occurred just days before it erupted)

    Sinabung, Indonesia (just because we should never forget its ongoing eruption which has killed people…just not this year, fortunately, despite a massive eruptive event back in February)

    Mayon, Phillipines (which produced some very nice pyroclastic flows back in January)

    Shinmoedake (Kirishimayama), Japan (which had its first VEI 3 eruption in 300 years, still ongoing)

    Thanks Erik.

    • Chris DeVries

      Erik, I am changing my vote in light of the recent developments in Indonesia.

      1) Fuego

      2) Krakatau

      3) Kilauea


  • Szabi

    It is a very difficult question… what could take a volcano on the top? The scientific issue or destruction or an activity occurring far away, and thus it is not in the media frontline?

    In summary, I would say

    1. Kilauea, Hawaii, since that was a really remarkable eruptive event, both in scientific point of view and destruction. In addition this demonstrated how media could react to such event in the leading editorials. This eruption demonstrated that volcanic eruption can be forecasted (although the exact time of the start of an eruption still cannot be precisely determined) if there is a well-equipped monitoring network and well-trained scientists and also how important are the continuous public announcements, the outreach activity (congrat USGS!). This eruption could demonstrate that in certain cases yes, even in your garden could start an eruption in a volcanic area and this is not unpredictable… (see also Auckland)

    2. Ambae, Vanuatu, since inhabitants of a whole island had to be evacuated and later this year, it continued with opening of large fissures across settlements…

    3. Fuego, Guatemala, since its destructive eruption caused new modern-aged “Pompeji” event and a lot of experiences about the destructive and underestimated nature of pyroclastic flows.

  • Holger_Alberta

    Well, you think you got the Pliny 2018 well sorted a long time ago, but then Anak Krakatau and Etna are making late plays…

    Still, my number one is Kilauea for the (relatively) peaceful eruption and a great show all around. Second is Fuego for clear reminder not to underestimate any volcano, which also leads to the third place Anak Krakatau.

    Kadovar, a long time favourite of mine under the category “the little volcano that could” now gets an honourable mention, after being bumped from third place by Anak Krakatau.

    Let’s hope there are any late contenders for the last few days of the year…

    • Chris DeVries

      Etna seems to be making a move to make the top 5 anyway.

  • Ade Gill

    Kilauea #1 Due to duration and variation -=> That was some epic show as it unfolded, so much going on. Anak Krakatau making a late bid with Strombolian-> Landslide & tsunami –> Surtseyan

  • Chris Vagasky

    1. Anak Krakatau
    2. Fuego
    3. Kilauea

  • Eric Fielding

    Lots of volcanic activity this year, unfortunately some tragic events.

    1. Anak Krakatau
    2. Fuego
    3. Kilauea

  • Indy BearFan

    1. Anak Krakatoa
    2. Fuego
    2. Kilauea


Rocky Planet

Rocky Planet covers all the geologic events that made and will continue to shape our planet. From volcanoes to earthquakes to gold to oceans to other solar systems, I discuss what is intriguing and illuminating about the rocks beneath our feet and above our heads. Ever wonder what volcanoes are erupting? How tsunamis form and where? What rocks can tell us about ancient environments? How the Earth might change in the future? You'll find these answers and more on Rocky Planet.

See More


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar