Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2014, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (6): 1060-1068.doi: 10.1007/s11442-014-1138-7

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial and temporal distribution of large volcanic eruptions from 1750 to 2010

Zhixin HAO1(), Huan WANG1,2, Jingyun ZHENG1,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2014-03-31 Accepted:2014-05-09 Online:2014-06-20 Published:2014-06-20
  • About author:

    Author: Hao Zhixin (1975-), specialized in climate change. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41430528.Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.XDA05080100.China Global Change Research Program, No.2010CB950100.Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Climate Change


Using the dataset provided by the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program, we have extracted the large volcanic eruptions (volcanic explosivity index ≥ 4) from the period 1750-2010 and have then analyzed the main characteristics of large volcanic eruptions since 1750 according to their geographic latitudes, their elevations, and the years and months in which they occurred. The results show that most large volcanic eruptions were located around the margins of the Pacific Ocean and the islands of Sumatra and Java, especially in the equatorial regions (10°N-10°S). Large volcanic eruptions were concentrated at 1000-2000 m elevations and in the months of January and April. There were more eruptions in the summer half-year (from April to September) than in the winter half-year (from October to the next March). Large volcanic eruptions have interdecadal fluctuations, including cycles of 15-25 years and 35-50 years, which were detected by Morlet wavelet analysis, with the fluctuations being more frequent after 1870 than before. During the periods 1750-1760, 1776-1795, 1811-1830, 1871-1890, 1911-1920 and 1981-1995, there were relatively many large volcanic eruptions.

Key words: large volcanic eruption, spatial distribution, interdecadal variation