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 total]
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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.
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 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)
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.
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.
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)
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.
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 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.
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.
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)