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A Year of Volcanic Activity

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A number of volcanoes made headlines over the past year, as they wreaked havoc on nearby communities, grounded planes, and spewed lava, gases, and ash into the air. Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull took center stage last April, with Indonesia's Mount Merapi causing local devastation late last year. At any given time there are dozens of erupting volcanoes around the world - one in Japan named Shinmoedake is just now stirring for the first time in 52 years, rattling windows and dropping ash on nearby towns. Collected here are images of volcanic activity around this world of ours over the past year. [32 photos]

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An aerial view shows Shinmoedake peak erupting between Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures January 27, 2011. Ash and rocks fell across a wide swath of southern Japan straddling the prefectures of Miyazaki and Kagoshima on Thursday, as one of Mount Kirishima's many calderas erupted, prompting authorities to raise alert levels and call on for an evacuation of all residents within 2 km (1.2 miles) radius of the volcano. (REUTERS/Kyodo)
An aerial view shows Shinmoedake peak erupting between Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures January 27, 2011. Ash and rocks fell across a wide swath of southern Japan straddling the prefectures of Miyazaki and Kagoshima on Thursday, as one of Mount Kirishima's many calderas erupted, prompting authorities to raise alert levels and call on for an evacuation of all residents within 2 km (1.2 miles) radius of the volcano. (REUTERS/Kyodo)
Shinmoedake peak erupts, as seen from Takaharu Town Office, Miyazaki prefecture early morning January 27, 2011. Picture taken by long exposure. Picture taken January 27, 2011. (REUTERS/Takaharu Town Office) #
A man removes volcanic ash from a roof of his residence in Miyakonojo city in Miyazaki prefecture, Japan's southern island of Kyushu on February 2, 2011. A series of eruptions from a volcano Shinmoedake in southern Japan fired columns of ash and smoke thousands of metres in the air early, with the cloud delaying some international flights to Tokyo. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images) #
A group of people walk next to the erupting Pacaya volcano in Villa Canales, 31 miles (50 km) south of Guatemala City on Friday, June 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #
People walk next to the erupting Pacaya volcano in Villa Canales, south of Guatemala City on Friday, June 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #
People watch the erupting Pacaya volcano in Villa Canales on Friday, June 4, 2010. Guatemala's Pacaya volcano began a series of eruptions on Thursday, May 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #
A resident from Pocitos village prays over dried lava after a mass was held near the erupting Pacaya volcano in the municipality of Villa Canales, just south of Guatemala City, Wednesday, June 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #
Mount Sinabung volcano spews smoke in Suka Nalu village in the district of Tanah Karo, in Indonesia's North Sumatra province August 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Tarmizy Harva) #
An Indonesian man carries tools as he prepares to carry out some maintenance work on ash-covered roads in the village of Cemoro Lawang near the active Mount Bromo volcano in the east of Indonesia's central Java island early on December 24, 2010. Bromo, a popular tourist attraction, began rumbling late November, 2010 and a series of eruptions occured on December 19, with the volcano shooting columns of ash some 1,000 meters into the sky. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images) #
A general view shows a village covered by aerlier mud flows from mount Merapi in Yogyakarta on January 10, 2011. Indonesia's most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, has killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions which started in late October. (ALTAMIRA/AFP/Getty Images) #
A house kitchen is covered by ash in Cangkringan village off the Indonesia's Central Java province, November 6, 2010, the ash had erupted from nearby Mount Merapi. (REUTERS/Dwi Oblo) #
Colima Volcano, Mexico's most active, has been erupting since 1998. The eruption began with several months of earthquakes beneath the volcano, followed by explosions and rockfalls at the summit lava dome as it began to grow. Dome growth was accompanied months later by a series of lava flows which cascaded down the southwestern flank of the mountain, stretching up to 3,100 m (10,000 ft) from the summit. In January 2011, local newspapers reported "dust plumes" rising over Colima, likely pulverized lava stirred up by landslides at the summit dome. This natural-color satellite image was acquired on January 22, 2010, by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on Earth Observing-1 (EO-1). The perspective of the image (straight down) flattens the appearance of the peak, which is in reality a classic steep-sided stratovolcano. (NASA/Earth Observatory) #
Indonesian worshippers descend from the crater of Mount Bromo in East Java province on January 28, 2011. The worshippers gave offerings to the god of the mountain, praying for the safety of local people. (AMAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Indonesian worshipper descends from the crater of Mount Bromo in East Java province on January 28, 2011. (AMAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images) #
Volcanic lightning or a dirty thunderstorm is seen above Shinmoedake peak as it erupts, between Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures, Japan, in this photo taken from Kirishima city on January 28, 2011. (REUTERS/Minami-Nippon Shimbun) #
Aerial view taken on October 15, 2010 of lava streams flowing out of the Piton de la Fournaise volcano on the French island of la Reunion in the Indian ocean. The eruption took place on October 14, 2010 near the "Chateau Fort" site, south east of the volcano, one of the world's most active. (RICHARD BOUHET/AFP/Getty Images) #
A man shows the stitches he received after being injured by a volcanic rock on the slopes of the Pacaya Volcano, 45km outside Guatemala City on May 28, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #
A plume of smoke rises from the crater of Mount Shinmoedake in the Kirishima mountain range of Kagoshima prefecture on Japan's southern island of Kyushu on February 4, 2011. The 1,421-metre (4,689-feet) Shinmoedake volcano in the Kirishima range, featured in the 1967 James Bond film "You Only Live Twice", has continued a series of deafening blasts which began with the start of its first major eruption for 52 years last week. (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images) #
Villagers from Wukirsari village in Sleman, near the ancient city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia on November 4, 2010, watch as Mount Merapi volcano erupts, spewing out towering clouds of hot gas and debris. (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #
Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano spews molten rocks and large clouds of gas and ash near Banos, 178 km (111 miles) south of Quito, Ecuador on November 29, 2010. Tungurahua, which means "Throat of Fire" in the local Quechua language, has been classified as active since 1999, and produced a strong eruption in 2008. (REUTERS/Carlos CampanaY) #
A view of a dome of lava is seen at a eruptive crater at Shinmoedake peak between Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures January 31, 2011. (REUTERS/Kyodo) #
Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano spews molten rocks and large clouds of gas and ash on November 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Carlos Campana) #
View from Palitahua, Ecuador on May 29, 2010, of the Tungurahua volcano erupting. (RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images) #
Villagers watch as Mount Merapi spews volcanic materials in Cangkringan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Trisnadi) #
Indonesia's Mount Merapi spews massive hot clouds of volcanic ash and rocks as seen from Sleman district in central Java on November 6, 2010. (SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Indonesian man smokes a cigarette as he keeps himself warm in the ash-covered village of Cemoro Lawang near the active Mount Bromo volcano in the east of Indonesia's central Java island early on December 24, 2010. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Congolese soldier and guard for Virunga National Park looks down into a lava lake boiling in the crater of Nyiragongo volcano near Goma in eastern Congo August 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #
A fresh cloud of ash rises from the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland May 16, 2010. (REUTERS/Ingolfur Juliusson) #
Activity is seen inside the volcano in southern Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier, Wednesday, April 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti ) #
A man walks across the ash covered land at Kali Adem village in Sleman on October 28, 2010, where tourists sheltered from the Mount Merapi eruption. (ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images) #
Mount Etna spews lava on the southern Italian island of Sicily on January 13, 2011. Mount Etna is Europe's tallest and most active volcano. (REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello) #
Smoke billows from a volcano in Eyjafjallajokull on April 16, 2010. (HALLDOR KOLBEINS/AFP/Getty Images) #
Shinmoedake peak erupts, as seen from Takaharu Town Office, Miyazaki prefecture early morning January 27, 2011. Picture taken by long exposure. Picture taken January 27, 2011. (REUTERS/Takaharu Town Office) #
A man removes volcanic ash from a roof of his residence in Miyakonojo city in Miyazaki prefecture, Japan's southern island of Kyushu on February 2, 2011. A series of eruptions from a volcano Shinmoedake in southern Japan fired columns of ash and smoke thousands of metres in the air early, with the cloud delaying some international flights to Tokyo. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images) #
A group of people walk next to the erupting Pacaya volcano in Villa Canales, 31 miles (50 km) south of Guatemala City on Friday, June 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #
People walk next to the erupting Pacaya volcano in Villa Canales, south of Guatemala City on Friday, June 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #
People watch the erupting Pacaya volcano in Villa Canales on Friday, June 4, 2010. Guatemala's Pacaya volcano began a series of eruptions on Thursday, May 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #
A resident from Pocitos village prays over dried lava after a mass was held near the erupting Pacaya volcano in the municipality of Villa Canales, just south of Guatemala City, Wednesday, June 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #
Mount Sinabung volcano spews smoke in Suka Nalu village in the district of Tanah Karo, in Indonesia's North Sumatra province August 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Tarmizy Harva) #
An Indonesian man carries tools as he prepares to carry out some maintenance work on ash-covered roads in the village of Cemoro Lawang near the active Mount Bromo volcano in the east of Indonesia's central Java island early on December 24, 2010. Bromo, a popular tourist attraction, began rumbling late November, 2010 and a series of eruptions occured on December 19, with the volcano shooting columns of ash some 1,000 meters into the sky. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images) #
A general view shows a village covered by aerlier mud flows from mount Merapi in Yogyakarta on January 10, 2011. Indonesia's most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, has killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions which started in late October. (ALTAMIRA/AFP/Getty Images) #
A house kitchen is covered by ash in Cangkringan village off the Indonesia's Central Java province, November 6, 2010, the ash had erupted from nearby Mount Merapi. (REUTERS/Dwi Oblo) #
Colima Volcano, Mexico's most active, has been erupting since 1998. The eruption began with several months of earthquakes beneath the volcano, followed by explosions and rockfalls at the summit lava dome as it began to grow. Dome growth was accompanied months later by a series of lava flows which cascaded down the southwestern flank of the mountain, stretching up to 3,100 m (10,000 ft) from the summit. In January 2011, local newspapers reported "dust plumes" rising over Colima, likely pulverized lava stirred up by landslides at the summit dome. This natural-color satellite image was acquired on January 22, 2010, by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on Earth Observing-1 (EO-1). The perspective of the image (straight down) flattens the appearance of the peak, which is in reality a classic steep-sided stratovolcano. (NASA/Earth Observatory) #
Indonesian worshippers descend from the crater of Mount Bromo in East Java province on January 28, 2011. The worshippers gave offerings to the god of the mountain, praying for the safety of local people. (AMAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Indonesian worshipper descends from the crater of Mount Bromo in East Java province on January 28, 2011. (AMAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images) #
Volcanic lightning or a dirty thunderstorm is seen above Shinmoedake peak as it erupts, between Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures, Japan, in this photo taken from Kirishima city on January 28, 2011. (REUTERS/Minami-Nippon Shimbun) #
Aerial view taken on October 15, 2010 of lava streams flowing out of the Piton de la Fournaise volcano on the French island of la Reunion in the Indian ocean. The eruption took place on October 14, 2010 near the "Chateau Fort" site, south east of the volcano, one of the world's most active. (RICHARD BOUHET/AFP/Getty Images) #
A man shows the stitches he received after being injured by a volcanic rock on the slopes of the Pacaya Volcano, 45km outside Guatemala City on May 28, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #
A plume of smoke rises from the crater of Mount Shinmoedake in the Kirishima mountain range of Kagoshima prefecture on Japan's southern island of Kyushu on February 4, 2011. The 1,421-metre (4,689-feet) Shinmoedake volcano in the Kirishima range, featured in the 1967 James Bond film "You Only Live Twice", has continued a series of deafening blasts which began with the start of its first major eruption for 52 years last week. (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images) #
Villagers from Wukirsari village in Sleman, near the ancient city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia on November 4, 2010, watch as Mount Merapi volcano erupts, spewing out towering clouds of hot gas and debris. (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #
Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano spews molten rocks and large clouds of gas and ash near Banos, 178 km (111 miles) south of Quito, Ecuador on November 29, 2010. Tungurahua, which means "Throat of Fire" in the local Quechua language, has been classified as active since 1999, and produced a strong eruption in 2008. (REUTERS/Carlos CampanaY) #
A view of a dome of lava is seen at a eruptive crater at Shinmoedake peak between Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures January 31, 2011. (REUTERS/Kyodo) #
Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano spews molten rocks and large clouds of gas and ash on November 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Carlos Campana) #
View from Palitahua, Ecuador on May 29, 2010, of the Tungurahua volcano erupting. (RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images) #
Villagers watch as Mount Merapi spews volcanic materials in Cangkringan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Trisnadi) #
Indonesia's Mount Merapi spews massive hot clouds of volcanic ash and rocks as seen from Sleman district in central Java on November 6, 2010. (SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Indonesian man smokes a cigarette as he keeps himself warm in the ash-covered village of Cemoro Lawang near the active Mount Bromo volcano in the east of Indonesia's central Java island early on December 24, 2010. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Congolese soldier and guard for Virunga National Park looks down into a lava lake boiling in the crater of Nyiragongo volcano near Goma in eastern Congo August 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #
A fresh cloud of ash rises from the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland May 16, 2010. (REUTERS/Ingolfur Juliusson) #
Activity is seen inside the volcano in southern Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier, Wednesday, April 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti ) #
A man walks across the ash covered land at Kali Adem village in Sleman on October 28, 2010, where tourists sheltered from the Mount Merapi eruption. (ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images) #
Mount Etna spews lava on the southern Italian island of Sicily on January 13, 2011. Mount Etna is Europe's tallest and most active volcano. (REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello) #
Smoke billows from a volcano in Eyjafjallajokull on April 16, 2010. (HALLDOR KOLBEINS/AFP/Getty Images) #

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