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Hawaii volcano eruption: how many people are killed by volcanoes?

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Volcanoes by the numbers

Of volcano death toll to the temperature of molten lava, here is a look at some of the interesting statistics about volcanoes.

With the eyes of the world Hawaii the destructive Kilauea volcano, the experts, are the ways of the human toll of volcanic eruptions.

Fortunately, there are no victims to regret as a result of the current eruption of Kilauea, although experts note that, on a global basis, lives are regularly lost as a result of volcanic activity.

Fatal accidents, for example, are included in 18 of the last 20 years, according to the Volcanic Fatalities in the Database, compiled by the british University of Bristol.

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The latest version of the database, which was prepared in September 2017, finds that about one-tenth of the world’s population lives in the potential emissions of volcanic risks. Composed of scientific data, media reports and official statements, the database covers the period from 1500 AD to 2017. During that period, 635 fatal incidents were registered, good for 278,368 deaths.

Each record in the database includes information about the number of fatalities, fatal cause, the date of the incident and the death location in terms of distance from the volcano.

Almost half of the fatal incidents were recorded within a 10 km (6.2 miles) from the volcanic activity.

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“Residents are the most frequently killed, but the tourists, volcanologists and members of the media have also been identified as regular victims,” said the researchers.

In a BBC column, Dr. Sarah Brown of the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, explained that, since 1500, approximately 170,000 people have been killed in just six eruptions.

Volcanoes produce a host of deadly dangers, including lava flows, tidal waves, volcanic mudflows, avalanches, flying rocks and pyroclastic flow – a mix of hot lava fragments, ash, pumice, and volcanic ash. Potentially harmful gases such as hydrogen sulphide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide may also be emitted.

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Brown, updates from the volcanic fatality database, noted that the greatest loss of life, as volcanic gas was in Cameroon in 1986, when more than 1500 people came to. The deaths occurred when carbon dioxide from Lake Nyos flowed in the surrounding villages, she explained.

While no one has died as a result of the current eruption of the Kilauea, a man on the Big Island was recently hit by a flying piece of lava, and said that the molten rock nearly shaved his leg in half.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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