The science of volcanology is relatively young when you consider our species has a knack for building where we shouldn’t. Volcanic soils are well known for their fertility and as such many societies throughout history have settled in volcanic regions, some eventually suffering the consequences. It wasn’t until 1841 that the first volcanological observatory (The Vesuvius Observatory) was founded and since then the field has progressed hugely. As an example of this, during the 90’s as part of the United Nations International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) the Decade Volcanoes Project was established.
The task of the IAVCE (International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior) was to identify volcanoes with a history of: large, potentially destructive eruptions, more than 1 associated hazard and close to regions of high population density. They produced a list of 16 volcanoes spanning 13 countries that were identified as being worthy of particular study, the so called decade volcanoes: Mount Rainier (USA), Mauna Loa (USA), Colima (Mexico), Santa María (Guatemala), Galeras (Columbia), Teide (Spain), Mount Etna (Italy), Mount Vesuvius (Italy), Santorini (Greece), Mount Nyiragongo(Democratic Republic of the Congo) , Mt. Merapi (Indonesia), Ulawun (Papua New Guinea), Taal (Philippines) , Sakurajima (Japan), Unzen (Japan) and Avachinsky-Koraksky (Russia). Via The Earth Story