Mount Pinatubo Facts

Here are some facts about Mount Pinatubo.

  • Mount Pinatubo is located in the Cabusilan Mountains on Luzon, an island in the Philippines.
  • It as an active volcano and it is classified as a stratovolcano – with tall, steep sides formed from layers of volcanic ash, pumice and hardened lava.

  • Mount Pinatubo’s eruption on 15th June 1991 was one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century.
  • It is estimated that ash was propelled more than 30 km into the air and pyroclastic flows (a current of hot gas and rocks) extend more than 10 km from the summit of Mount Pinatubo.

Mount Pinatubo

  • The ash cloud from the 1991 eruption covered an area of more than 100,000 sq km and the island of Luzon was plunged into darkness.
  • The eruption was about ten times as powerful as the eruption of Mt St Helens in 1980.
  • Even though thousands of people were evacuated, more than 800 people were killed during the 1991 eruption. The situation was made worse because Typhoon Yunya was affecting the Philippines at the same time as the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.
  • Before the eruption, the US Air Force had two bases on the island of Luzon – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base. Following the eruption, Clark has been abandoned and Subic is now controlled by Philippine forces.
  • Volcanologists have predicted that further eruptions will take place in the near future.
  • The eruption formed a crater lake called Lake Pinatubo.
  • It is thought that an eruption of Mount Pinatubo about 35000 years ago was much larger than the 1991 eruption.
  • The Aeta people, who lived on the slopes of the volcano, were the hardest hit by the eruption. Forced to evacuate their homes, they returned to find their villages decimated by the eruption and many of them have been relocated by the government of the Philippines.

What next? Discover more volcano facts by visiting the Primary Facts volcanoes resources page.