Reykjanes peninsula volcano: Fagradalsfjall is ready to blow - so is Iceland the volcanic capital of Europe?

As Reykjanes Peninsula prepares for the worst - we find out if Iceland the most volcanic country on earth
Is Iceland the volcanic capital of Europe, as the Reykjanes Peninsula continues to be rocked by volcanic activity? (Credit: Canva)Is Iceland the volcanic capital of Europe, as the Reykjanes Peninsula continues to be rocked by volcanic activity? (Credit: Canva)
Is Iceland the volcanic capital of Europe, as the Reykjanes Peninsula continues to be rocked by volcanic activity? (Credit: Canva)

Volcanic activity continues to rock the area of Fagradalsfjall volcano, with many across the Reykjanes Peninsula preparing for the worst as volcanologists predict an eruption is near imminent. It marks two years since the last major eruption to take place in Iceland, after Geldingadalir, also in the Reykjanes Peninsula, began in March 2021 and continued for several months.

By no means though did it have quite the effect on the world as the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull back in 2010, with its ash clouds causing significant travel disruption across Europe. This was due to metallic elements found within volcanic ash potentially causing damage to the jet engines of aircraft and the size of the eruption lingered across most of mainland Europe afterwards. 

But as the cracks continue to emerge around the peninsula, and with a history of volcanic activity in the country, just how many volcanoes are there in Iceland and is it the volcanic capital of Europe? Maybe even the world for that matter? 

How many volcanoes are there in Iceland?

There are approximately 63 volcanoes in Iceland, which include Hekla, one of Iceland's most active and well-known volcanoes, Katla, known for its powerful eruptions and proximity to the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Eyjafjallajökull itself, which gained international attention with its 2010 eruption that disrupted air travel in Europe and Bárðarbunga, located under the Vatnajökull glacier, it is one of Iceland's largest central volcanoes.

List of volcanoes in Iceland:

Flowing lava during an volcanic eruption near Litli Hrutur, south-west of Reykjavik in Iceland on July 10, 2023. (Credit: AFP via Getty Images)Flowing lava during an volcanic eruption near Litli Hrutur, south-west of Reykjavik in Iceland on July 10, 2023. (Credit: AFP via Getty Images)
Flowing lava during an volcanic eruption near Litli Hrutur, south-west of Reykjavik in Iceland on July 10, 2023. (Credit: AFP via Getty Images)

Askja | Bardarbunga | Blafell | Blafjall | Brennisteinsfjöll | Burfell | Eldey | Eríksjokull | Esjufjöll | Eyafjallajökull | Fjallgardar Ridge | Fremrinámar | Gaesafjoll | Geysir | Grensdalur | Grímsnes | Grímsvötn | Heiðarsporðar | Hekla | Helgrindur | Hengill | Herdubreid | Hlodufell | Hofsjökull volcano | Hreppar | Hrómundartindur | Hrutfell | Hveravellir | Katla | Kerlingarfjöll | Kistufell | Kolbeinsey Ridge | Krafla | Krísuvík | Kverkfjöll | Lambafjoll | Langjökull | Ljósufjöll | Loki-Fögrufjöll volcano | Lyngdalsheidi | Lysuhóll | Ok | Öraefajökull | Prestahnukur | Reykjanes | Sellandafjall | Snaefellsjökull | Strutur | Theistareykjarbunga | Thordarhyrna | Thorisjokull | Tindfjallajökull | Tjörnes Fracture Zone | Torfajökull | Tungnaarfjoll | Tungnafellsjökull | Valdalda | Vatnafjöll | Vestmannaeyjar

What European country has the most volcanoes?

Italy has the most volcanoes of any European country with 49, with the Italian Peninsula being home to several active and historically significant volcanoes. They include Mount Vesuvius - located near Naples and one of the most famous volcanoes in the world due to its historic eruption in AD 79 that destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Italy is also home to Mount Etna, Europe's highest and most active volcano

List of volcanoes in Italy:

Acquasparta | Alicudi | Amiata | Campi Flegrei (Phlegrean Fields) | Campi Flegrei Mar Sicilia | Colli Albani | Cupaello | Etna | Filicudi | Gaeta Bay Volcanic Field | Iblei | Ischia | Linosa | Logudoro | Marsili Seamount | Monte Vulture | Monti Ernici | Oricola-Carsoli | Palinuro | Panarea | Pantelleria | Polino | Pontine Islands | Radicofani | Roccamonfina | Sabatini Complex | Salina | San Venanzo | Torre Alfina | Ustica | Ventotene | Vesuvius | Vico-Cimino Complex | Vulsini | Lipari | Stromboli | Vulcano

What country in the world has the most volcanoes?

With 147 volcanoes, Indonesia is officially the volcano capital of the world. According to Volcano Discovery: “Most volcanoes in Indonesia belong to the Sunda Volcanic Arc, stretching over 3,000 kilometres from NW Sumatra to the Banda Sea. This volcanic arc results from the subduction of Indian Ocean crust beneath the Asian Plate and includes 76% of the region's volcanoes.”

Are there any volcanoes in England?

No, there are no active volcanoes in England. The United Kingdom, including England, is not located near any tectonic plate boundaries where volcanic activity typically occurs. England is situated on the Eurasian Plate, which is a relatively stable continental plate. The nearest tectonic plate boundaries with significant volcanic activity are located in other parts of the world, such as the boundaries around the Pacific Plate (known as the Ring of Fire), the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and various subduction zones.

While England doesn't have active volcanoes, it has a geological history that includes ancient volcanic activity. For example, the landscapes of regions like the Lake District and parts of Scotland were shaped by volcanic activity that occurred millions of years ago.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.