As the title says, is it possible to have a volcano that is perpetually erupting, and how would it be achieved?

To be considered a "Perpetual Eruption", the volcano must emit moderate quantities of smoke and/or lava flows on a daily basis and must do both in each seven day period. The best answer will be able to sustain this behaviour for the longest.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is this expected to be in the realm of reality, or is there magic involved? Might want to slap a science-based tag on it, if you want realistic answers. $\endgroup$
    – Jorgomli
    Mar 4, 2019 at 22:05
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Mount Stromboli, on the island with the same name just north of Sicily, "has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2,000 years". It has been reliable tourist attraction since the days of Julius Caesar... $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 4, 2019 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ Would a few thousand years of regular activity be sufficient? Long enough that the mountain has been active for the entirety of recorded history? $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2019 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ @ArkensteinXII, a few thousand years is plenty $\endgroup$
    – Kyyshak
    Mar 5, 2019 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP -- You should probably just make that an answer. It has basically been in continuous activity -- gas emission, minor eruptions, etc. -- punctuated by major eruptions throughout recorded history. And probably a lot longer. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Mar 5, 2019 at 18:21

4 Answers 4


Yes it's possible.


Like most things involving energy, put enough in, and enough comes out. In this case, tectonic activity from the massive gravity of Jupiter.

Io's main source of internal heat comes from the tidal forces generated by Jupiter's gravitational pull.[3] This external heating differs from the internal heat source for volcanism on Earth, which is a result of radioactive isotope decay and residual heat from accretion.[4][19] In the Earth, these internal heat sources drive mantle convection, which in turn causes volcanism through plate tectonics.[20]

The tidal heating of Io is dependent on its distance from Jupiter, its orbital eccentricity, the composition of its interior, and its physical state.[21] Its Laplace orbital resonance with Europa and Ganymede maintains Io's eccentricity and prevents tidal dissipation within Io from circularizing its orbit. The eccentricity leads to vertical differences in Io's tidal bulge of as much as 100 metres (330 ft) as Jupiter's gravitational pull varies between the periapsis and apoapsis points in Io's orbit. This varying tidal pull also produces friction in Io's interior, enough to cause significant tidal heating and melting. Unlike Earth, where most of its internal heat is released by conduction through the crust, on Io internal heat is released via volcanic activity and generates the satellite's high heat flow (global total: 0.6–1.6 × 1014 W). Models of its orbit suggest that the amount of tidal heating within Io changes with time, and that the current heat flow is not representative of the long-term average.[21] The observed release of heat from Io's interior is greater than estimates for the amount presently generated from tidal heating, suggesting that Io is cooling after a period of greater flexing.[22]


Im not sure why we are looking at cases of this millions of miles away when we have it on earth. The islands of Hawaii are caused by this, and it doesnt have to only happen at sea, active hotspots can form on land. This is just a place where the crust is thinner and lava rises to the surface continuously. This can go on for thousands or millions of years and can be sped up by how thin the crust is and how hot the core is depending on your specific situation. Hope this is helpful :)

  • $\begingroup$ You can make this answer even better by including the names of the Hawaiian volcanoes and how long they've been recorded to continuously erupt. $\endgroup$
    – ShadoCat
    Mar 5, 2019 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ As an example Kilauea was erupting almost continuously from 1780-1920 as well as 1983-2018. $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2019 at 18:14
  • $\begingroup$ +1 because this is about volcanic eruptions rather than planets or large igneous provinces. But you probably really should give a specific example since you can. $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2019 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ @VilleNiemi I would love to oblige but what exactly do you mean by a specific example? $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2019 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ Just what the comments above mine said but I said it in a confusing and difficult manner for the win. Or something like that. $\endgroup$ Mar 7, 2019 at 22:59

Mount Stromboli, on the island with the same name just north of Sicily, "has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2,000 years" (Wikipedia). It has been reliable tourist attraction since the days of Julius Caesar.

The volcano has erupted many times and is constantly active with minor eruptions, often visible from many points on the island and from the surrounding sea, giving rise to the island's nickname "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean".

(Wikipedia, s.v. Stromboli, quoting Richard L. Scheffel and Susan J. Wernet, eds., Natural Wonders of the World, 1980)

Mount Stromboli

View of the island of Stromboli in 2004, Italy, by Steven W. Dengler. Photograph available on Wikimedia under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or later.

  • $\begingroup$ A short review of how it erupts would make it better, very little lava comes out of stromboli and other similar volcanoes. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Mar 5, 2019 at 21:49

Emphatically yes.

The Deccan Traps erupted over the course of 30,000 years, and the Siberian Traps eruption lasted over one million years.

  • $\begingroup$ these are however not single volcanoes. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Mar 5, 2019 at 21:46

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