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2013: The Year in Volcanic Activity

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This been a particularly eventful year for the world's volcanoes. Out of an estimated 1,500 active volcanoes, 50 or so erupt every year, spewing steam, ash, toxic gases, and lava. In 2013, erupting volcanoes included Italy's Mount Etna, Alaska's Mount Pavlof, Indonesia's Mount Sinabung, Argentina's Volcán Copahue, and a new island emerging off the coast of Nishinoshima, Japan. In Hawaii, the famed Kilauea volcano continued to send lava flowing toward the sea. Collected below are scenes from the wide variety of volcanic activity on Earth over the past year. [36 photos]

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Mt. Etna, Europe's most active volcano, spews lava during an eruption as seen from Acireale, near the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy, on November 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi)
Mt. Etna, Europe's most active volcano, spews lava during an eruption as seen from Acireale, near the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy, on November 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi)
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station photographed this view of Pavlof Volcano on May 18, 2013. Situated in the Aleutian Arc about 625 miles (1,000 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage, Pavlof began erupting on May 13, 2013. The volcano jetted lava into the air and spewed an ash cloud 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) high. (NASA) #
Pavlof Volcano in Alaska, seen from aboard the orbiting ISS, on May 18, 2013. (NASA/via Reuters) #
An electron microscope image of ash particles that erupted from Alaska's Pavlof volcano, collected in Sand Point on the night of May 18, 2013 by resident Kathleen Harper. The ash is composed almost exclusively of juvenile vesicular glassy particles with few crystals, the longest measuring approximately 200 micrometers across. (Michelle Coombs/Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey) #
Volcanic ash billows from Mount Sakurajima in Kagoshima, on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, on August 18, 2013. Kyodo reported that the eruption was the 500th one this year at the 1,040-meter (3,410-foot) high mountain, which is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. (AP Photo/Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory) #
Sakura-jima volcano emitted a dense plume of ash over the Japanese island of Kyushu on November 23, 2013. Currently Japan's most active volcano, Sakura-jima explodes several hundred times each year. These eruptions are usually small, but the larger eruptions can generate ash plumes that rise 3,800 meters (12,000 feet) or more above the summit. (NASA Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, w/Landsat data from the USGS Earth Explorer) #
Steam vents from an erupting undersea volcano as a new island is formed off the coast of Nishinoshima, a small uninhabited island, in the southern Ogasawara chain of islands in this November 21, 2013 picture provided by Kyodo. Japan added another small island to its territory, after the undersea eruption. (Reuters/Kyodo) #
Ash, rock, and steam vent from an erupting undersea volcano as it forms a new island off the coast of Nishinoshima, japan, on November 21, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo) #
View of Copahue volcano spewing ash behind the lagoon of Caviahue, Neuquen province, Argentina, some 1,500 km southwest of Buenos Aires, on December 22, 2012. (Antonio Huglich/AFP/Getty Images) #
A view of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, showing Mount Bromo, Mount Semeru and Mount Batok, on July 23, 2013 in Probolinggo, Indonesia. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #
Vehicles and participants leave light trails along Mount Bromo during the Yadnya Kasada Festival on July 24, 2013 in Probolinggo, East Java, Indonesia. The festival is the main festival of the Tenggerese people and lasts about a month. On the fourteenth day, the Tenggerese make the journey to Mount Bromo to make offerings of rice, fruits, vegetables, flowers and livestock to the mountain gods by throwing them into the volcano's caldera. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #
Villagers use nets and sarongs to catch offerings thrown by Hindu worshippers at the crater of Mount Bromo during the Yadnya Kasada Festival at crater of Mount Bromo on July 24, 2013 in Probolinggo, Indonesia. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #
View of the Tungurahua volcano from Riobamba, Ecuador, on December 17, 2012. Ecuador issued an orange alert -- the second-highest warning level -- for towns near the Tungurahua volcano on the eve, as its level of activity rose, civil defense officials said. (AFP/Getty Images) #
A view of Tungurahua volcano erupting, seen from La Florida, Ecuador, on December 20, 2012. (Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty Images) #
Mount Lokon spews volcanic ash during an eruption in Tomohon in Indonesia's North Sulawesi province, on December 17, 2012. Indonesia's Mount Lokon, which has erupted 800 times since July, erupted to spew hot lava and volcanic ash as high as 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) in the north of Sulawesi island, a government official said. (Reuters/Stringer) #
Volcano Mount Karangetang spews lava as seen from Bebali village in Siau district of Indonesia's North Sulawesi province, on April 4, 2013. (Reuters/Stringer) #
Ash and volcanic gases billow from Mount Etna, Europe's tallest active volcano, on November 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi) #
People watch Italy's Mount Etna spewing lava as it erupts on the southern island of Sicily, on November 17, 2013. (Reuters/Antonio Parrinello) #
A smoke ring emerges from the mouth Mount Etna, during an eruption on the southern Italian island of Sicily April 11, 2013. (Reuters/Antonio Parrinello) #
Mt. Etna erupts, seen behind two cupolas as it spews lava during an eruption near the Sicilian town of Catania, on November 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Salvatore Allegra) #
Mt. Etna, spews lava as ash and gases billow during an eruption as seen from Acireale, near the Sicilian town of Catania, on November 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi) #
An aerial view of Anak Krakatau volcano spewing ash and steam in the Sunda strait, between Java and Sumatra, on February 24, 2013. Picture taken February 24, 2013. (Reuters/Beawiharta) #
On Hawaii's Big Island, Kilauea, continues to erupt on May 2, 2013. After a 12 km (7.5 mile) journey from the vent on Pu'u 'O'o cone through a lava tube, lava pours into the ocean in narrow streams. The lava fragments due to cooling and disruption by the battering surf, and some of these pieces float on the water's surface in front of the entry point (see lower left portion of photo). (Tim Orr/USGS/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory) #
A small lava flow erupts from a spatter cone near the south rim of Kilauea's Pu'u 'O'o crater, in Hawaii, on April 20, 2013. (USGS/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory) #
A beautiful hardened bubble of glass, about the size of an small orange, adorns the surface of a breakout on a flow from Kilauea. Note the delicate bubble walls stretched so thin that they grade from the color of honey to transparent. (USGS/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory) #
Pele's hair is abundant around Halema'uma'u Crater, and originates from the active, spattering lava lake. When the lava spatters into the air, some of it stretches into thin fibers, which quickly cool into amber strands of glass, and can be carried off by the wind. In certain areas there is a nearly continuous carpet of Pele's hair, which is highlighted in the afternoon sun. (USGS/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory) #
A plume of ash and steam rise from the Popocatepetl volcano overshadowing the Catholic church in Santiago Xalizintla, Mexico, on July 7, 2013. Just east of Mexico City, the volcano spit out a cloud of ash and vapor 2 miles (3 kilometers) high over several days of eruptions. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) #
Ash spews from Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano, seen from San Mateo Ozolco, in the Mexican central state of Puebla, on July 4, 2013. (Pablo Spencer/AFP/Getty Images) #
Indonesian farmers rush to harvest crops in the district of Karo as an ash cloud rises during a fresh eruption of the Mount Sinabung volcano, on September 17, 2013. Thousands of villagers fled after Mount Sinabung's series of volcanic eruptions on Indonesia's Sumatra island, spewing rocks and red-hot ash onto surrounding villages. (Sutanta Aditya/AFP/Getty Images) #
This picture taken on November 23, 2013 shows ash falling in the city of Medan following an eruption of Mount Sinabung. (Ade Sinhuaji/AFP/Getty Images) #
A man holds rocks which fell from the sky from am eruption of Mount Sinabung at Sukanalu village, Indonesia, on on November 24, 2013. Officials reported rocks raining down over a large area, forcing thousands to flee their homes. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #
Mount Sinabung spews volcanic ash into the air, as seen from Karo, North Sumatra, on December 4, 2013. (Ade Sinhuaji/AFP/Getty Images) #
An ash covered man works at a coffee plantation in Guru Kinayan village, located less than three kilometers from mount Sinabung, on November 21, 2013. Mount Sinabung has had two large eruptions this week including one which saw volcanic ash spewing to a record height of 10km. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #
A hibiscus flower on an ash-covered plant at Mardingding village in Karo district, Indonesia's north Sumatra province, on November 19, 2013. (Reuters/Roni Bintang) #
Lightning strikes as Mount Sinabung volcano spews ash and lava, at Simpang Empat village, Indonesia's North Sumatra province, on September 18, 2013. (Reuters/YT Haryono) #
A woman looks on as Mount Sinabung spews ash, photographed from Sibintun village in Karo district, Indonesia, on November 18, 2013. (Reuters/Roni Bintang) #

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